Caleb Gaston — the former YMCA employee charged with sexually assaulting two young children he was watching in the downtown Wichita branch's drop-in nursery — pleaded not guilty Thursday after waiving his right to a hearing where prosecutors would have presented evidence in the case.
Gaston, 21, is charged with the rape of a 4-year-old girl on Jan. 29 and with aggravated indecent liberties for allegedly fondling a 3-year-old girl on Jan. 24.
At the time of the assaults, the girls were in the YMCA's Kid Zone, a place inside the Ys where parents can leave their children aged 6 weeks to 7 years for up to two hours while they take classes or exercise.
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Gaston, a part-time YMCA employee for five years, was one of the caregivers staffed there. He was arrested Jan. 31 after a parent reported her daughter had been molested.
Authorities say Gaston slapped the 4-year-old girl twice on the face, took her into a bathroom in the Kid Zone of the YMCA, 402 N. Market, and sexually assaulted her. While investigating her rape, a Wichita police detective found security camera footage taken inside the downtown Y's Kid Zone that allegedly shows Gaston assaulting the 3-year-old, according to an affidavit released in March.
Gaston’s attorney, Steve Ariagno, has previously said his client “denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing.” He remains in the Sedgwick County Jail in lieu of $1.1 million bond.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Faith Maughan bound Gaston over for trial as charged after he waived his right to have a preliminary hearing Thursday morning. His jury trial is scheduled for July 23.