A 29-year-old Ira man is facing sexual assault charges after he allegedly engaged in sexual behaviors with preteen girls since 2014. 

The Cayuga County Sheriff's Office said William H. Lewis, of East Mechanic Street, is facing three felony charges following an investigation with the assistance of Cayuga County Child Protective Services. Lewis was arrested March 23 and charged with predatory sexual assault against a child and predatory sexual assault, both class A felonies. He was also charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a class D felony.

Cato-Meridian Central School District Superintendent Noel Patterson said that Lewis has been employed as a mechanic's helper in the school district for a little more than a year. Prior to that, he was a substitute cleaner. Patterson added in an email to The Citizen that Lewis "is not performing his duties as an employee of the district and his employment status is under review." Police said that they did not believe the crimes were connected to his employment. 

The sheriff's office declined to comment on the number of victims but said there is some concern that there could be more. The alleged crimes took place in the town of Victory and Ira, though Lewis was arraigned in the Town of Owasco Court. That was due to court availability, the sheriff's office said.

Lewis was remanded to the Cayuga County Jail without bail. Anyone with information on the investigation is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Fred Cornelius at (315) 253-6562. Tips can also be left on cayugacrime.com. Tips may be made anonymously. 

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