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Accused molester to stand trial

Luis Ponce Jr., of Grass Valley, accused of molesting several young children and videotaping the abuse, is scheduled to stand trial in May.

In addition, Ponce’s wife Kathryn Ponce has obtained a restraining order against her husband, listing their five children – all in their teens – as protected parties.

She also filed for divorce on March 9.



“(Luis Ponce) has obviously lived a whole other life I know nothing about,” Kathryn Ponce wrote in her restraining order request. “I must protect my children from any potential abuse or exploitation until this is tried through the justice system.”

Ponce, 50, was arrested in January 2006 after Nevada County sheriff’s investigators searched his home on Rattlesnake Road. They allegedly found several computer discs with images of children being sexually exploited.




Berkeley Police Department detectives also searched Ponce’s locker at a Berkeley fire station where he commuted to work as a paramedic supervisor. There, they allegedly found seven compact discs of child pornography and five video tapes containing footage of Ponce allegedly molesting young children.

Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Charles O’Rourke filed 21 charges of aggravated child molestation against Ponce, to which Ponce pleaded innocent.

In a July 2006 preliminary hearing, Nevada County Sheriff’s Detective Jeff Pettitt testified he viewed the five videotapes – allegedly taped by Ponce – depicting Ponce sexually molesting four girls ranging in age from infant to 5 years old.

Pettitt testified in the preliminary hearing that Kathryn Ponce verified her husband was the man in the videotapes. She also identified many of the children involved.

Some of the children viewed in the tapes, Pettitt said, have not been identified.

A motion by Ponce’s lawyer to suppress evidence in the case was denied in court by Nevada County Judge Robert Tamietti in December 2006, according to court records.

Kathryn Ponce obtained her restraining order on Jan. 30.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Julie McManus ruled Ponce would be held to answer for a majority of the charges.

Ponce remains incarcerated at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, held in lieu of $2 million bail. His trial is set for 9 a.m., May 17, in Nevada County Superior Court.

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To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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