Dwight McCarthy, a white separatist who had a pro-Aryan Nations talk-radio show, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge that he solicited sex from a Salt Lake police decoy.

Fifth Circuit Judge Paul G. Grant set a March 30 pretrial hearing for him in his court. McCarthy, who wore lapel pins with white-separatist designs as he appeared in court, asked Grant to waive reading the formal charges against him before he entered his plea.He told the Deseret News after his court appearance, "I'm glad to see that the Fourth Estate (the media) takes such an interest in my sex life. . . . This isn't really any big deal. But I just wish the United States would be consistent about whether this (sex solicitation) is legal. In the 18th century it was, then it wasn't, then it was and now it is not."

Police reports say McCarthy was arrested March 14 after a police decoy was approached at 1750 S. State and asked, "Are you looking for a date?" The report said the decoy was asked to perform two sexual acts for $40.

Last month, McCarthy announced the organization of his own white-separatist Fellowship of Christian Israel. He had been the Utah leader of the Aryan Nations Church. He left it after doctrinal disputes with that group's top leader, Richard Butler, over whether blacks, Jews and other races have spirits. McCarthy says they do, but Butler disagreed.