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Suspect pleads innocent to alleged sex crime

Merlin Franklin Lyons, 66, of Cass Lake, pleaded innocent April 5 in Beltrami County District Court to serious felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13, when he was at least 36 months older.

According to the criminal complaint, Lyons molested a 4-year-old girl June 2 while she was sitting on his lap watching television.

Lyons' next court appearance is scheduled for May 5.