Trial Date Set for City's "Street Czar"

By R. Stickney
|  Thursday, May 12, 2011  |  Updated 1:48 PM PDT
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City Official Charged With Lewd Act

Cynthia Faram

Sierra during a May court appearance.

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City Official Charged With Lewd Act

The city's new "Street Czar" pleaded not guilty to molesting a child.
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San Diego's new "Street Czar" was ordered to stand trial Thursday on charges he molested a child under the age of 14.

Mario Sierra, 47, is on unpaid leave from his position as Director of the San Diego Transportation and Stormwater Department.

Prosecutors allege that Sierra had a girl younger than 14 place her hand on his penis seven years ago.

During a preliminary hearing, the alleged victim testified that when she was 10 years old, Sierra molested her as the two laid on a couch watching a pornographic movie on television. The now-17 year old girl said Sierra was wearing only his underwear at the time.

"I felt him moving, but I didn't know what he was doing," she testified.

Sierra has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his lawyer, Tom Warwick, has declined to comment on the charges.

On cross-examination, the teenager told Warwick that she complained last year when someone at school smacked her on the buttocks. The alleged victim also said she complained to her parents last year that a doctor made her take off a robe and made her feel uncomfortable.

Judge Amalia Meza ruled that enough evidence had been presented for Sierra -- who is free on bail -- to stand trial July 1. A readiness conference was scheduled for June 14.

The felony charge carries a maximum prison sentence of eight years.

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