updated 7/16/2007 10:44:50 PM ET 2007-07-17T02:44:50

A Washington, D.C., man pleaded not guilty Monday to reckless endangerment and assault charges for closing his daughters in a car trunk in 90-degree heat.

Michael Fekete’s attorney, Samuel M. Hausman, said that the two girls were in the trunk for only 30 seconds, and that they were inside because they liked playing with a glow-in-the-dark release lever. Prosecutors said the girls were inside for five minutes.

Fekete, 48, was released without bond.

Fekete, a technology contractor for the Department of Justice, was visiting his mother in a nursing home in Foxborough on Sunday when the girls, ages 9 and 11, were left in the Chevy Cobalt trunk. Foxborough is about 30 miles southwest of Boston.

His daughters told police that they liked going in the closed trunk “so they could play” with the release lever, according to a police report obtained by The Boston Globe.

A witness called police when the girls were spotted climbing into the trunk. When police stopped the car, the girls were in the back seat.

Hausman did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday. A phone listing for Fekete could not immediately be found.

Social service officials took the girls into custody, and they were later released to family members in Massachusetts. Fekete is scheduled to return to court Aug. 15.

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