Lhermine hearing postponed

Nicolas Lhermine stands with his lawyer in court Tuesday for a plea hearing at the South County Courthouse. Lhermine is accused of molesting four children 3 to 7-years-old while under his care at a YMCA facility during a summer program.

The arraignment for a Morgan Hill man charged with sexually assaulting four young children under his care at a YMCA facility on a local elementary school campus was continued at South County Courthouse, according to authorities. 

Nicolas Lhermine, 21 of Morgan Hill, is now scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 25, according to Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Stuart Scott. The arraignment follows a preliminary hearing on Lhermine’s case in August, in which a Superior Court judge determined prosecutors have enough evidence to put him on a trial before a jury. 

Lhermine faces a maximum penalty of life in prison on the charges he sexually assaulted the children, the oldest of whom was 7 years old. He is charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 12, oral copulation on a child younger than 10, possession of child pornography and production of child pornography. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing in March.

Lhermine is accused of assaulting the children at a daycare center run by the YMCA on the campus of Paradise Valley Elementary School in southwest Morgan Hill, according to authorities. He was arrested by Morgan Hill police July 12, 2013, and authorities think he victimized the children in the preceding weeks. 

A fifth alleged victim in the wide-ranging case is a 17-year-old girl of whom investigators found nude pictures on Lhermine’s mobile phone, according to police. The girl was not affiliated with the YMCA program, but Lhermine knew her.

Police arrested Lhermine after a 6-year-old girl under his care at the YMCA program told her parents and investigators that he forced her to engage in inappropriate contact in the bathroom of the daycare site, authorities said. During the initial investigation, police found the pictures of the 17-year-old girl. 

During a follow-up investigation that included assistance from YMCA staff who reached out to the parents of all children who had ever been under Lhermine’s care at the YMCA, authorities identified three more alleged female victims – ages 3, 5 and 7 at the time of the incidents, police said.

The suspect worked as a child care aide at the YMCA day care facility during the alleged assaults and has held numerous positions—including youth soccer coach—in his four years of employment at the YMCA, according to authorities.