Chamber head to stand trial for sexual assault

June 22, 2009 12:42:03 PM PDT
The president of the Belmont Chamber of Commerce will stand trial in October in San Mateo County Superior Court on charges that he molested his girlfriend's young daughter for years.

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Michael Kazarian, 50, pleaded not guilty Friday to nearly 20 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, as well as charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

He is suspected of molesting his girlfriend's daughter, who was 8 years old at the time the alleged abuse began, from November 1999 to February 2002, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe said the girl kept the alleged abuse a secret for years because Kazarian allegedly threatened her, but that this year she decided to tell her mother. Her mother notified police and Kazarian was taken into custody on a $500,000 arrest warrant, Wagstaffe said.

Kazarian has been in custody since his arrest May 18 in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

His jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 13.

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