NEOSHO, Mo. — A man from Goodman waived a preliminary hearing Monday on charges that he sexually abused a 12-year-old girl.

Michael D. Cooper, 26, waived the hearing in Newton County Circuit Court and was ordered to stand trial on charges of first-degree statutory rape and statutory sodomy with a child younger than 14. Associate Judge Christine Rhoades set the defendant's initial appearance in a trial division of the court for May 20.

Cooper was charged with the offenses Jan. 7 following an investigation by the Newton County Sheriff's Department.

A probable-cause affidavit states that the girl disclosed in an interview Dec. 5 at the Children's Center in Joplin that Cooper touched her inappropriately and raped her on or about Nov. 26. The girl told investigators that she was asleep on a floor of a residence when he entered the room and sexually assaulted her.

According to the affidavit, Cooper denied the girl's allegations when questioned by an investigator with the sheriff's office.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.