SPRINGFIELD — A man suspected of having sex with three girls younger than 16 pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday.
Christopher Atchison, 37, of 1419 Linden Ave., appeared in Clark County Municipal Court. He faces four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, third-degree felonies.
According to police, Atchison befriended his victims and their families. He then invited the girls to help him clean empty houses that he was hired to fix up for landlords.
It’s there, officers allege, that he had sex with the girls. Springfield Police Sgt. Jeff Flores said they were able to connect Atchison to his victims after one of the girl’s parents discovered their daughter had contracted an STD.
Stephanie Atchison, the defendant’s daughter, said she thinks the charges stem from who her father spends time with.
“The only reason I think they’re doing this is because he hangs out with a lot of teenage girls,” she said.
The father of an alleged 15-year-old victim said Atchison pretended to help his family after the father had a heart attack in August.
“Basically, you know, she was brainwashed,” said the father. “She’s obviously got a love affair with this guy. She is just all worried about him still.”
The family submitted clothing and other items for DNA evidence to authorities. The News-Sun did not name the father to protect his daughter’s identity. He said he’s frustrated with how long it took for charges.
“My opinion, this shouldn’t have went on as long as it did,” the father said.
Atchison has asked for a public defender and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next Wednesday. He’s being held in the Clark County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
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