Yesterday, Pius Anthony Joe pled not guilty to assault in the fourth degree.
Joe, age 33, was originally accused of sexually assaulting a woman in an abandoned house in Bethel. The police searched for him for weeks before posting his picture to Facebook with an appeal to the public for help in finding him.
The current charges against Joe are less severe than they used to be. Assault in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor that generally refers to physically injuring another person and does not involve sexual assault. Joe’s attorney claimed that the case against him had some "serious deficiencies".
In yesterday’s court hearing, Assistant District Attorney Dara Gibson alleged that Joe’s assault of the woman was severe and said that her office plans to indict Joe with a stronger charge by the end of the week. Judge Bruce Ward declined to lower Joe’s $50,000 bail to a more manageable amount, noting that Joe has been convicted of five assaults in the past four years.