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Man faces 72 counts of sexual molesting

Hernando County sheriff's deputies arrested a 46-year-old Spring Hill man Friday charging him with 72 counts of sexually molesting his stepdaughter.

The man, whose name is not being published to protect the identity of the girl, was being held Friday at Hernando County Jail in lieu of $540,000 bail. Authorities arrested him at the Greyhound bus terminal on U.S. 41 in Brooksville after he arrived on a bus from California.

Although he is accused of molesting the girl since she was 9 years old, the charges stem only from incidents that authorities say took place in Hernando County in 1990 and 1991, an arrest affidavit said.

According to the document, the man fondled and kissed the girl nearly once a week from October to December 1990, after calling her into his bedroom when no one was home.

On two occasions, however, he performed oral sex on her, the girl said in a Feb. 4 interview with detectives, and penetrated her with his fingers.

When the family moved some 10 miles away to another house in January 1991, the man continued the assaults, the report said. In March and April 1991, he had intercourse with her.

The girl, now 15, said the man abused her physically starting when she was 6, while her family lived in New York. Soon after she turned 9, she said, he began to sexually abuse her.

The girl told detectives she never sought help because she feared the man would deny the assaults. She also said she feared he would hurt her because he frequently brandished a handgun during family arguments.

Deputies found a .38-caliber pistol when they arrested the man at the bus station on Friday.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Frank Bierwiler said the man had been living in California because he couldn't find work locally. Bierwiler did not know why the man returned to Brooksville.

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