A suspect in a Wausau child rape case, arrested more than 1,800 miles away has pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents, Praveen Kharb, 38, was arrested near Seattle in May after detectives from the Marathon County Sheriff's Department traced the suspect's IP address to a hotel in Bellevue, Washington.
According to a search warrant affidavit from the King County Sheriff's Department in Washington state, Kharb is accused of sexually assaulting a 7th grade student at a home near Wausau.
Their correspondence reportedly began on the free texting app, Kik. The teen told detectives from Marathon County, messages from the suspect just appeared in her inbox one day and it's possible he may have found her using the picture sharing social media site, Instagram.
The two began a friendship over the course of several months. The alleged victim told investigators Kharb said he traveled all over the world for work and would be coming to Wausau the end of March.
The teen said she thought it would be okay if they meet and just hung out. According to court documents, Kharb showed up at her house on March 22. The teen said she told him her parents left, and he arrived at the house 15 minutes later. He allegedly asked her if she wanted to have sex and the two reportedly did. The teen told investigators she was afraid the suspect would hurt her if she said no.
The teen told detectives she thought Kharb was 25. She said he was much older than she thought, and went on to describe him during their meeting as “weird and creepy” in regarding to his older appearance.
Documents obtained by the Marathon County Sheriff's Department confirm Kharb had stay at a hotel in Wausau on March 21 to March 23. They also determined his home address was Gurgon, India.
The detectives were able to obtain information from Kik Interactive Inc. for Kharb's account information. Based on that information they were able to verify the account had been accessed on May 4 using the wireless internet connection at the Residence Inn in Bellevue, WA.
Kharb was taken into custody on May 8 by officers from the Bellevue Police Department.
Jail records incident he was brought to Marathon County Wednesday.
A judge ordered Kharb to surrender his passport. If he is able to post bond, he will not be able to leave Wisconsin without approval from the court.
Marathon County Deputy District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon said investigators are still looking into if there are more alleged victims.
Kharb remains in the Marathon County Jail on $750,000 cash bond.
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