VAN NUYS (CNS) — A 51-year-old North Hollywood man accused of sexually assaulting the young daughters of friends and neighbors has pleaded not guilty to 13 felony counts.

Simon Ruiz Hernandez faces up to life in prison if convicted of sex-related counts involving four girls who were 9 to 14 years old at the time of the alleged assaults, which date back as far as 17 years ago, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

On Feb. 10, a judge found sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on eight felony counts: one count each of aggravated sodomy of a child, sodomy by use of force on a victim under 14 and forcible rape of a child under 14, two counts of lewd acts and three counts of continuous sexual abuse.

Since that hearing, the criminal complaint was amended to add five more felony counts: two counts of aggravated rape and one count each of aggravated oral copulation, aggravated sexual penetration and aggravated sodomy — all against a child.

Hernandez, who is also facing an allegation that two of the assaults occurred during the commission of a residential burglary, is being held in lieu of $2.5 million bail. His next court date is an April 16 pretrial hearing.

Prosecutors said the alleged abuse occurred between 2003 and 2019. Hernandez was arrested July 23 for the sexual assault of one minor and further investigation revealed additional alleged victims, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Division.

The Sexual Assault Unit is continuing to investigate the case. Anyone with further information was urged to call the unit at 818-754-8435 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

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