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George Irwin Hirzel

Hirzel

A Santa Maria man who prosecutors claim sexually abused a teenage girl for more than four years pleaded not guilty Friday to more than six dozen felony counts of child sexual abuse, according to records filed in Santa Maria Superior Court.

Appearing before visiting Judge John S. Fisher for his continued arraignment, 47-year-old George Irwin Hirzel denied each of the 73 counts filed against him. Charging documents filed in late April by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office claim Hirzel continuously abused an unidentified girl from late 2014 until March 2019, while she was between the ages of 14 and 17.

In addition to one count of continuous sexual abuse, Hirzel faces 24 counts of lewd acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15; 13 counts of sexual intercourse with a minor by someone older than 21; 18 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor; and 17 counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.

He will reappear in Santa Maria Superior Court on Thursday, May 23, to tentatively set a date for his preliminary hearing.

Originally free on $100,000 bond, Hirzel's bail was raised to $500,000 during his initial May 1 appearance before Judge Patricia Kelly. He has been held in Santa Barbara County Jail since.

A criminal protective order for the unidentified 17-year-old was issued during Hirzel's first court appearance. He is prohibited from contacting the teen in person or electronically, and must stay 150 yards from her should he bail out.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Scott Donahue, and Hirzel has retained defense attorney Paul Greco.

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Reach reporter Mathew Burciaga at 805-739-2205 or mburciaga@leecentralcoastnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @mathewburciaga

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Education Reporter

Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.