FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Facing charges of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl, 41-year old Brent Cox pleaded not guilty inside Fresno County Superior Court on Monday.

Cox is facing nine felonies for allegedly sexually abusing a 12-year old girl from June 2020 through January 2021. His first court appearance was in a red jail jumpsuit and he remained silent until spoken to by his attorney Marc Kapetan.

New charges state that the suspect’s wife Jill Cox, and the mother of the alleged victim, both took an active role in the abuse and committed a lewd act on the victim.

Defense counsel asked that cameras not be allowed in the courtroom, but the judge denied that request. The defense asked that a bail amount be set for his client and entered a plea.

“I’ll go ahead and enter a plea of not guilty and ask that the matter be set for a pre-preliminary hearing and a preliminary hearing,” said attorney Marc Kapetan.

Cox’s bail was set at $495,000.

During the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Richard Burchett addressed the calculated nature of the alleged abuse.

“This is a situation with considerable grooming. Being involved the minor victim being involved in this case is only 12 years old. And we’re concerned due to the egregious nature of the offenses,” said Burchett.

A criminal protective order was also issued if Cox is able to make bail.

“Mister Cox, I have a criminal protective order,” said Judge Adolfo Corona. “It’s a stay-away order from the alleged victim. You’re to stay one 100 yards away from this person wherever they are.”

Any electronic communication with the alledged victim is also forbidden.

Residents of the neighborhood where Cox was living with the two women and the alleged victim are shocked.

“To hurt a child like that….they deserve the death penalty,” said neighbor Stephen Webb. “Most of the neighbors around here are really nice…we may not know each other by name, but we always wave to each other, say hello and be courteous to each other.”

Proceedings are set to resume on March 10. If convicted on all counts, Brent Cox faces a maximum sentence of 57 years in prison.