The man accused of brushing an 11-year-old girl’s breast on a public bus pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon in a Burbank courtroom.
Manuel Retana, 35, was arrested Tuesday morning by Burbank police on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a minor. He had been held in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail, but on Thursday, he was released on his own recognizance.
The girl, who rides the bus from North Hollywood Way and West Victory Boulevard, told officers she had seen Retana in past weeks waiting for the bus on an older blue bicycle. Retana had allegedly tried to begin conversations with the girl, but she repeatedly ignored him.
During the afternoon Aug. 31, police said Retana entered the bus and sat two rows behind the girl. When she rose to pull the stop cord, he stood and allegedly brushed her breast area, police said.
The girl reported the incident the following day to her school’s student resource officer.
“Officers were out in the area [on Tuesday] to see if they could find him,” said Sgt. Robert Quesada. “They responded to a report of a possible sighting of the suspect and detained him until the victim positively identified him.”
Retana, a Van Nuys resident, was eventually found and detained Tuesday morning in North Hollywood. The girl was brought to the scene, where she identified him, police said.
If convicted, Retana could face up to eight years in state prison for a lewd act with a minor who is under the age of 14.
He is scheduled to appear at a pretrial hearing Oct. 6 in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Burbank.
Officials are asking anyone with more information on Retana, or any other possible victims, to contact Burbank Police Det. Peter Eirich at (818) 238-3255.