MADISON — A 24-year-old Norfolk man accused of raping a 10-year-old child is being held on a $1 million bond.
Tate Pirnie pleaded not guilty to first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 12 in Madison County District Court on Wednesday morning.
If convicted of the Class 1B felony, Pirnie faces 20 years to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, during which he would not accrue any good time.
During Pirnie’s arraignment, his attorney asked for a reduction in the 10 percent of $500,000 bond that had previously been set.
Madison County Public Defender Matthew Headley said his client’s family likely could come up with 10 percent of a $100,000 bond. Headley pointed out that Pirnie had resided in Madison County for a number of years, had no prior felony offenses and was planning to reside with his fiancee and child.
Instead, Pirnie’s bond ended up being increased rather than decreased.
Deputy Madison County Attorney Matthew Kiernan asked that the court take note of the affidavit for arrest warrant, as well as the fact that the victim in the case was a 10-year-old at the time of the alleged incidents.
“The allegations are very disturbing. The state believes that bond has been set appropriately and should continue as is,” Kiernan said.
According to court records, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Child Abuse Hotline received a report from a counselor who is working with the victim. The victim and her siblings had been removed from their parents’ home and placed into foster care in January 2017.
Before the placement, the children were left in different homes by their homeless parents, including the home of Tate Pirnie, 215 N. Ninth St.
In a September interview with the Northeast Nebraska Child Advocacy Center, the victim said Pirnie had raped her in September 2016 and indicated she could remember all or part of two separate incidents involving sexual contact.
An older sister of the victim also was interviewed and stated she had observed Pirnie going into the victim’s bedroom at night and staying in there for about 20 minutes. The sister said she then went to the victim’s bedroom and found her sitting in her closet and crying, though the victim wouldn’t say why at that time.
In an interview with Norfolk police officers, Pirnie “suggested he did not remember doing anything to (the victim).” Later, Pirnie suggested he would consider admitting to the assaults “just to get it over with” if he knew he wouldn’t end up on a “pedophile list,” court records indicate.
In court Wednesday, Judge James Kube took several minutes to read from a file in front of him before making his decision on Pirnie’s bond request.
Kube said that based on the information in front of him and the content of the probable cause affidavit, he would be increasing Pirnie’s bond to 10 percent of $1 million. Pirnie was also ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with anyone under the age of 16, including the victim.
Pretrial in the case was set for Dec. 18 at 9 a.m., and trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.
Pirnie remains incarcerated at the Madison County Jail.