PASADENA, Texas - A 36-year-old man is in police custody for what investigators say he did to a 10-year-old girl at her mother's birthday party.
Prosecutors accuse that man of using S&M items on the girl, all while her mother was downstairs celebrating her birthday.
Flanked by his attorney, Frank DiStefano entered a Harris County courtroom Monday to respond to accusations that he lured a 10-year-old girl into a bathroom and tricked her into wearing items meant for sexual use.
"Frank is pleading not guilty today. We look forward to our day in court and proving our innocence," said defense attorney Paul Darrow.
According to court records, the alleged incident happened at a house in a Pasadena neighborhood during a birthday party for the little girl's mother. Prosecutors say DiStefano lured the little girl into an upstairs bathroom, saying he had a present for her -- a Hello Kitty mask -- but he wanted to make sure he had the right size.
The girl told investigators DiStefano then blindfolded her with a silk mask, bound her arms with velcro and gagged her. She said DiStefano was planning to take pictures of her, but her mother came pounding on the locked door, demanding it be opened.
DiStefano then walked out of the bathroom, mask in hand.
On Monday, it was a courtroom he walked out of, free on bond.
He wasn't around when we arrived at his home, but his neighbors were and they had plenty to say.
"It's very sad for something like that to happen to a child. There's nothing worse than that. That's the worst it can get," said Dave Bernosky.
DiStefano is charged with performance with a child. Because this little girl is under 14 years of age, this is a first degree felony. And if he's convicted, DiStefano faces anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.
During the course of the investigation, Pasadena police say two more victims were discovered. And since the story has aired, one more victim has come forward.
Pasadena police detectives encourage anyone else who may have information regarding additional victims to call the Pasadena Police Department's Juvenile Division at 713-477-1221.
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