A 62-year-old former Pattee Canyon, Mont., campground host has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting three young girls there.
Wallace Dean Christensen of Missoula appeared Thursday (May 26) before Missoula County District Court Judge John Larson, where he pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault, the Missoulian reported.
Christensen allegedly molested the three girls in his camper between 2007 and 2009, according to an affidavit filed in the case. Two of the girls were 8 years old at the time and the other was 10.
He told authorities, “I have one drink too many and my hands start to wander,” according to the affidavit.
Christensen was extradited last month from Arizona, where he lives part of the year. In recent years, he has split his time between campgrounds in Montana and Arizona, while also making several trips to Casa de Elizabeth orphanage in the Mexican state of Sonora.
Authorities were notified of the abuse after one of the victims spoke to a relative, who in turn alerted other families, which resulted in the discovery of more incidents.
Christensen confessed to the allegations when Missoula sheriff’s detectives traveled to Casa Grande, Ariz., in April to confront him, according to the affidavit.
Sexual assault carries a punishment of four to 100 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Larson ordered Christensen to be screened for release before his trial, which is set for Nov. 4.