May 24, 2014 / 12:15 AM / 3 years ago

Arizona teenager accused of sex crimes pleads not guilty

Tyler Kost, 18, is shown in this booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Florence, Arizona May 8, 2014.Pinal County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona high school student accused of being a serial rapist pleaded not guilty on Friday to multiple sex-related crimes linked to allegations he assaulted at least a dozen girls during a multiyear spree, a county official said.

Tyler Kost, 18, entered the plea through his attorney to 28 felony counts of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation for crimes against the girls including one as young as 12 years old.

Kost was ordered held without bond by a judge during a brief hearing in Pinal County Superior Court, said Dwight Fujimoto, the county attorney's chief of staff. His next court date is July 1.

Kost was indicted by a grand jury on May 7 for alleged attacks on 11 girls aged 12 to 17, court documents showed. The alleged attacks date back to 2009. Another charge of sexual conduct with a minor was added in a separate indictment on Wednesday when another girl came forward, Fujimoto said.

The crimes occurred mostly in the victims' bedrooms in San Tan Valley, a town about 50 miles southeast of Phoenix, the indictment said. Kost faces a minimum of 160 years in prison if convicted on all charges, Fujimoto said.

Kost's attorney did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Matthew Lewis

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