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A 71-year-old Missoula child care provider pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he had sexual intercourse with a 4-year-old girl under his supervision.

Albert Elmer Gaub is charged with a felony count of sexual intercourse without consent, and faces a maximum penalty of 100 years in the Montana State Prison, and a minimum punishment of four years in prison. He also faces a fine of up to $50,000, and remains jailed at the Missoula County Detention Facility on $250,000 bail.

Prosecutors have asked for a high bail amount in Gaub's case "due to the egregious facts" alleged by law enforcement and detailed in charging documents, which they say constitute a threat to community safety.

At Tuesday's arraignment hearing before District Judge Robert L. "Dusty" Deschamps III, public defender Chris Daly requested a reduction in bail, saying his client has no criminal history and could arrange a place to live with his older brother, where he would have no contact with children.

"He's gone 70 years without a crime," Deschamps said, considering the request. "What he's allegedly done is horrible, if it's true, but if we keep him away from children where's the harm?"

Although Deschamps declined the request for a bail reduction, he ordered that Gaub be evaluated for pre-trial supervision.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Patricia Bower said she wished to address the court after the evaluation is complete and before a decision is made about release. Family members of the alleged victim may also weigh in on pre-trial release.

According to court records, Gaub allegedly had sexual contact with the young victim on numerous occasions between Oct. 1, 2008, and April 2, 2010, and the contact included sexual intercourse.

Gaub voluntarily relinquished his child care license to the state Department of Health and Human Services Quality Assurance Division. He and his wife operated the Cuddles and More child care business out of their Missoula home. Gaub's wife also was a child care provider, records state, however she was not aware of the alleged abuse and has suffered a number of strokes.

Records state that the victim told her parents about the abuse last month and the family went to law enforcement.

During an interview with Sgt. Tony Rio of the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, Gaub allegedly admitted that the sexual contact began about a year and a half ago, records state, and told the officer that "although I knew better, I just didn't know when to stop."

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