Man accused of groping Mesa girl pleads not guilty

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Billy Bryant By Natalie Rivers Billy Bryant By Natalie Rivers

PHOENIX (AP) -- A former Mesa school bus driver accused of groping a 9-year-old girl and luring her into his car earlier this month pleaded not guilty Monday.

The Maricopa County Superior Court says 62-year-old Billy Stephen Bryant's next court date is an initial pretrial conference Jan. 13.

Police say the girl's father witnessed the attack and pulled his daughter from the suspect's vehicle.

The father also was able to provide officers with the car's license plate number and police say that led to the arrest of Bryant.

Police say Bryant was interviewed by detectives and booked on two counts of child molestation and aggravated assault. He's being held without bond at the downtown Phoenix jail.