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ANDERSON — An Anderson man has been arrested on three counts of child molesting.

The Anderson Police Department arrested Dustin A. Wheatley, 32, on a probable cause affidavit issued in May.

During his initial court appearance Tuesday, Wheatley said he resides in Ft. Bragg, California.

Wheatley is charged with a Level 1 felony charge of child molesting for fondling a child under the age of 14; a Level 4 felony charge of child molesting; and a Level 4 felony charge of child molesting for fondling a child under the age of 14.

His bond was set at $35,000.

If convicted Wheatley faces a possible prison sentence of 24 to 74 years.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Wheately first allegedly assaulted a 4- or 5-year-old girl in 2014 and two additional incidents between Oct. 25, 2018, and July 2019 at two different Anderson addresses.

Wheatley told the girl not to tell anyone or he would go to jail, according to the court document.

During his appearance before Magistrate Mike Withers, Wheatley said he completed his sophomore year in high school and dropped out of school at the age of 18.

“I don’t even know how this came about,” he said of the criminal charges.

Wheatley asked Withers how much was needed to be released from the Madison County jail. Withers said at least $3,500.

Wheatley said he lived in Alexandria for a period of time with relatives and reportedly flew his plane to California.

He testified he last worked at a California gas station in June.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter

@KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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