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Brittany Lawonn, Published April 17 2008

Former Fargo YMCA worker pleads not guilty to sex charges

FARGO - A 20-year-old Wahpeton, N.D., man pleaded not guilty this morning to five felony charges accusing him of molesting or trying to molest young girls while they were in his care at the YMCA last year.

Jatten Heinen is facing four counts of Class A felony gross sexual imposition and one Class B felony count of attempting to commit gross sexual imposition.

The incidents involve four girls who were between the ages of 6 to 8 at the time.

Heinen is accused of touching the children either on a bus or while seated on a loveseat during “chill time” at the day care at the YMCAWest facility at 4243 19th Ave. S. in Fargo, according to Cass County District Court documents.

Heinen, who was living in Fargo at the time of the alleged incidents, has been released from jail after posting $50,000 bond in October.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to revoke the bail in February after a sting operation led to Heinen agreeing to photograph a 6-year-old girl.

Heinen is prohibited from having any contact with minor children as a condition of his bail.

He had worked at the YMCA for about a year and passed a background check before being hired, according to Paul Finstad, CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Family YMCA.

A tentative trial date has been set for August.