PLEASANTON -- A former Hayward police officer accused of sexually abusing four young girls at an after-school program in Livermore and intimidating a witness pleaded not guilty Friday, moments before a judge increased his bail to $3.6 million.

While Richard Scott McLeod, 38, pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of lewd acts with a child and one count of dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, Judge Christine Maruza opted to adjust his bail in accordance with an amended complaint.

"The court has read and considered everything submitted in writing," said Maruza, who acknowledged Wednesday that dozens of letters were sent to her from supporters of the ex-Hayward police officer, who resigned after his arrest. The judge said she was "troubled" by the alleged witness contact and increased bail from $570,000 to $3.6 million. The amount took into consideration only one of nine victim enhancements to the charges, and could have been higher.

Shortly before, defense attorney Eileen Burke, made one last attempt to lower McLeod's bail so he could return to his family under the condition he be monitored by GPS. Maruza replied to that suggestion Wednesday "Does that monitor his phone activity? Because that's what I'm concerned about."


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The concern, she said, stemmed from both intimidating phone calls to the witness, a former colleague from the Livermore after-school program where the abuse reportedly took place between 1998-2007, and recent text messages between McLeod and two of the alleged victims.

Burke came back Friday with details about the suggested GPS, which she said would constantly monitor the man's whereabouts and track all activity on his landline. She said the GPS' lack of cellphone tracking was a nonissue, because various protective orders against the man "addressed that problem."

"It's a location monitor, not an activity monitor," argued prosecutors, who added that emails, letters and social media were all avenues where he could contact victims and intimidate witnesses. "It's a bracelet that can be removed."

Maruza surprised prosecutors by grilling them about their vehement belief that a GPS would not be appropriate, giving momentary hope to McLeod's courtroom supporters that he may be bailed out.

"What are people really afraid of when it comes to the GPS?" Maruza asked the prosecution, who replied with a list of possible threats to public safety. These fears, they said, included contact with the victims, interference with witnesses, and the possibility he may take extreme measures to avoid prosecution.

"So you're afraid he may try to run because he's facing a lengthy sentence?" Maruza asked, prompting a slight nod from prosecutors and closing down the discussion.

Burke deferred discussion on the 17 counts in the amended complaint, up from six in the original filed Oct. 1. She cited issues with a statute of limitations clause, and told the judge she would like to see the victims' date of birth in accordance with when the alleged abuse took place.

Maruza handed down her decision about the bail increase, eliciting surprised gasps from one full side of the courtroom. The large jump, she said, stemmed from only one of the nine enhancements she considered for the bail schedule.

McLeod remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. His next court date has not been determined.

Contact Erin Ivie at eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com.