Man charged with 21 felony counts of aggravated child molestation
The Nevada County District Attorney filed 21 various charges of felony aggravated child molestation against Luis Ponce, a Grass Valley man being held on a total of $3 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Charles O’Rourke filed the long list of charges Thursday, after sheriff’s investigators presented him with a report including footage from several video tapes found in Ponce’s home on Rattlesnake Road and locker at the Berkeley Fire Department, where Ponce worked as a paramedic supervisor.
The charges include 12 counts of aggravated sexual assault, four counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object and five counts of committing a forcible lewd act upon a child.
The report states Ponce taped himself molesting two young girls, and he had been doing it for well over a year.
Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Ron Smith said a man shown in the videos molesting the children is Luis Ponce.
“From the evidence,” Smith said Friday, “we believe it is Mr. Ponce.”
Ponce and his wife Katheryn accepted foster children into their home on the 13000 block of Rattlesnake Road, where they have lived for 10 years. They have been married since 1987. They met in Truckee, where Ponce worked as a paramedic for the Truckee City Fire Department.
The couple moved to Cedar Ridge in 1988, then Grass Valley in 1995.
Their foster care license expired in 2003.
They adopted six children, who were living with Ponce at the time of his arrest Jan. 26.
Smith said Child Protective Services staff have been extremely helpful to the sheriff’s office during the investigation. Mrs. Ponce has told investigators she knew nothing of her husband’s alleged involvement in child molestation and pornography.
Ponce is currently being held on $1 million bail at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County on 57 misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography.
The latest felony counts bring the total number of charges to 78, and total bail to $3 million.
According to the investigators’ report, Ponce has a dual citizenship for the United States and Mexico, and his wife told investigators it is a possibility Ponce could leave the country if he gets out on bail.
Anyone with information about children who have spent time at the Ponce household for parties, sleepovers, etc., Smith said, should call the Nevada County Sheriff’s Investigation Division at 265-1263.
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