A Springfield man accused of raping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl claims she may have had sex with him while he slept, a prosecutor said on Monday (24 July).

Justin Armstrong from Massachusetts was arrested on Friday, two weeks after tests showed the girl was four months pregnant. The girl had revealed the alleged abuse to her mother's friend.

Armstrong had initially told the police that the young girl had told him she was abused by a relative, according to local publication Republican.

When Armstrong was told that the child was pregnant, he suggested she might have raped him while he slept, assistant district attorney Jill O'Connor said.

When the police interviewed her, the child said the 38-year-old man had molested her for 18 months. She said that the abuse involved various sex acts.

Armstrong had told her on numerous occasions that if she told anyone, he would get arrested, the girl said.

Armstrong was held on a $50,000 (£38375) bail after pleading not guilty to forcible child rape, the Republican reported.

His lawyer, Anna-Marie Puryear said Armstrong had no past criminal record and denies the allegation of rape against him. He is cooperating with the investigators and has voluntarily submitted a DNA sample for testing, she said.

The child underwent an abortion and the foetal tissue is being used for DNA testing, results of which are pending.

Armstrong has been prohibited from making any contact with the victim and is due to appear in court again on 24 August.