A Natrona County man is denying charges that he raped a young girl.

Joseph Sterling has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first and second degree sexual assault of a minor.

Investigators say in July, the fifteen year old victim was visiting Sterling, who gave her some alcohol.

The victim claimed that a short time later, Sterling raped her.

Sterling told investigators he was not sure how the victim got the alcohol, and that they did have sex, but it was the victim who instigated it.

He is free on five-thousand dollars bond awaiting trial, and could receive up to fifty years in prison if convicted.