Mediation sought in lewd conduct case

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A deputy prosecutor asked for mediation Wednesday in the case of a Post Falls contractor charged with molesting children.

Daniel S. Mattern 57, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene’s First District Court to two counts of felony lewd conduct with a child under 16.

Deputy prosecutor Katie Murdock asked the court to order mediation in the case, which could result in a change of plea or amended charges, or both.

Murdock said the mediation could bring up more issues in the case.

“(It) will probably include uncharged conduct as well,” Murdock said.

In a hearing in Coeur d’Alene that lasted six minutes, Mattern’s attorney, Rick Baughman, told the court his client would plead not guilty before Mattern entered the plea on his own behalf.

Mattern, who posted a $250,000 bond to get out of the Kootenai County jail last month, waived a probable cause hearing, which is meant to determine if there is enough evidence to bind suspects over to the higher court.

Mattern is accused of having sex with underage girls between the ages of 6 and 16 over an eight-year period beginning in 1990, and again between 2010 and 2014, according to court records.

First District Judge John Mitchell was initially assigned to the case, but Baughman filed a motion to replace Mitchell. The motion did not explain why the defense did not want Mitchell as the trial judge. Judge Cynthia Meyer is assigned to the case.

Baughman said at an earlier hearing that his client was innocent and that Mattern, who owns Specialty Construction Systems, has a sound reputation as a contractor.

“He practically has no criminal history,” Baughman said.

Meyer scheduled a five-day jury trial Aug. 5. Lewd conduct with a child under 16 carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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