PLEASANTON -- A Hayward police officer pleaded not guilty to child molestation charges Tuesday in a Pleasanton courtroom, where a judge denied the man bail due to allegations he sexually abused three adolescent girls from 1998 to 2007.

Richard Scott McLeod, 38, shuffled into court proceedings at the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice clad in a red jumpsuit, a far cry from the officer's uniform he donned until his Saturday arrest. McLeod was arrested Saturday at the Livermore police department on suspicion of engaging in oral sex, sexual intercourse and inappropriate touching with girls in their early teens while working as lead coordinator for Kid Zone, an after-school program for middle-school children run by the Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District.

Richard McLeod, 38, is accused of sexually abusing girls between the ages of 12 and 14 while working as an after-school coordinator in Livermore between
Richard McLeod, 38, is accused of sexually abusing girls between the ages of 12 and 14 while working as an after-school coordinator in Livermore between 1998 and 2007.

More than a dozen friends and family arrived to the court proceedings to support the Livermore man, at times weeping audibly and mumbling cries of "Oh my god" when Judge Hugh Walker ordered McLeod held without bail.

While McLeod's bail was initially set at $480,000, then raised to $750,000 because of enhancements for the age and number of victims charged, a prosecuting attorney argued that the weight of the enhancements were enough to hold McLeod at Santa Rita Jail without bail. McLeod's defense attorney protested.

"These charges are over 10 years old, and there are no identified victims. We don't even know who they are at this point," defense attorney Eileen Burke said, adding that the lifelong Livermore resident, who is married with a two-year-old son, has served in good standing with the Hayward Police Department since he joined the force six years ago.

A prosecuting attorney told the court that the charges include allegations from two victims, along with statements from a third, though those allegations now fall outside the statute of limitations. Despite that provision, Livermore Police Officer Steve Goard said, that victim's testimony will be presented as evidence.

Goard noted that while the allegations of abuse spanned a total of nine years, investigators have found nothing to suggest McLeod committed any abuse while employed as a police officer. He faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges, which include engaging in three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with a child under the age of 14, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, and lewd and lascivious acts with a child age 14 or 15.

Anyone with information about the ongoing investigation is asked to contact Livermore police at 925-294-7531.

Contact Erin Ivie at eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.