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B.H. man faces child molestation charges

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Suspect accused of abusing 10-year-old girls

By Abdon Sidibe

BEVERLY HILLS — A 52-year-old Beverly Hills man is facing fresh child molestation charges less than a year after he was arrested on similar charges, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.

Richard Michael Beard is charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a person less than 16 years of age. No bond was allowed.

He is now accused of victimizing two girls, age 10.

According to the arrest report, investigators spoke to the children separately and they both spoke of ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of Beard.

Beard reportedly molested and had illegal and inappropriate contact with the girls on numerous occasions over several years. One of the girls told investigators the abuse began when she was 5 years old. The other girl reportedly said her ordeal began when she was 7 years old.

According to the report, Beard told investigators he believed the girls to be truthful and they have no reason to lie about him, but denied doing anything inappropriate with them. He then requested his attorney, according to the report.

Last July, Beard was arrested on similar charges involving an 8-year-old girl. That case was dropped before trial.

The girl in that case has reportedly been reluctant to speak about the allegations against Beard, but eventually opened up to her therapist and investigators. It is unclear why Beard was not prosecuted in that case.

Beard was arrested Tuesday and transported to the Citrus County Detention Facility.

Contact Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe at 352-564-2925 or asidibe@chronicleonline.com.