A man charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor filed in 2017 will undergo a mental evaluation before further action can be taken in Natrona County Circuit Court, a judge said Tuesday.

Austin Barba, born in 1997, appeared for his preliminary hearing to determine whether his case of one count each of first-degree sexual abuse abuse of a minor and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor would be bound over to district court for trial.

But his public defender Joseph Cole said Barba has not been cooperative with him.

Cole asked Judge Steve Brown to lower Barba's bond from $25,000. The allegations against Barba are from two or three years ago, he has had little contact with the family and he poses no danger to the alleged victim.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Blonigen responded that Cole did not give any new information about Barba in that request, and that the defendant is mentally unstable and needs an evaluation.

Brown kept the bond at $25,000 and ordered Barba to have no contact with the alleged victim and her family.

The case started in December 2017 when a Casper police officer received a report from the Wyoming Department of Family Services and by a therapist with the Central Wyoming Counseling Center about a girl born in 2009 had been molested by a man who put his penis in her mouth.

The officer interviewed the girl at the Children's Advocacy Project in Casper and she described the alleged abuse.

The officer interviewed Barba in January 2018 who said he believed he was asleep at the time the event could have occurred. The officer also noted Barba "was nervous and sweating profusely."

However, circumstances prevented the officer could not collect any photographic or biological evidence.

The affidavit of probable cause did not state why the warrant for Barba's arrest was requested in June 2018, but was not executed until earlier this month.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app