UPDATE: Hethmon has been acquitted of all charges.
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) -- A candidate for Maryland's House of Delegates from Prince George's County and a major national figure in the ongoing immigration debate has been charged with child sex abuse.
Michael Hethmon is not talking or saying if he will remain in the race.
Hethmon is the long-shot Republican running for District 23B delegate in the southern part of Prince George's County but he's better known nationally for his legal work to help local communities pressure illegal immigrants to go elsewhere.
The 60-year-old is now accused with molesting an 8-year-old girl Sunday on his farm off Croom Road in Upper Marlboro.
According to court records, the girl's mother is a nurse practitioner helping Hethmon care for his elderly father at the home. Investigators claim Hethmon was with the 8-year-old outside a barn on the property when he offered to brush hay off her. The child alleged Hethmon put his hands inside her pants and touched her sexually. Hethmon then attempted to put the victim's hand inside his pants, court records say.
The child ran to tell her mother, who reported the incident to police.
Hethmon declined to speak with WUSA9 via phone on Thursday.
In addition to running for the house of delegates, Hethmon is the senior counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Washington, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has linked to a hate group targeting immigrants.
Hethmon has helped states, such as Arizona, and counties, such as Prince William in Virginia, write controversial tough legislation that allows local police and governments to crack down on illegal immigrants, hoping to force them to move away.
With the child sex charges here in Prince George's Now Hethmon is facing his own legal problems. He's currently free on bail.