Penn Valley man accused of child molestation, rape: Grass Valley man’s bond reduced | TheUnion.com

Penn Valley man accused of child molestation, rape: Grass Valley man’s bond reduced

Two men facing separate molestation-related accusations appeared Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court for their first hearing.

Matthew Thomas Bell, 34, of Penn Valley, is accused of molesting one girl and raping another. Arrested Monday, he remained Tuesday afternoon in the Nevada County Jail under $250,000 in bond, authorities said.

Christopher Patrick Hudgins, 49, of Grass Valley, is accused of trying to meet a 16-year-old girl for sex. Authorities arrested him Saturday after he arrived at Pioneer Park, reports state.

Judge Candace Heidelberger on Tuesday lowered Hudgins' bond to $250,000 from $500,000. Reports state he remained in jail that afternoon.

Bell

Authorities accuse Bell of molesting a girl under 14 sometime between November 2012 and November 2014. He raped a different girl sometime between May 2014 and May 2016, court records state.

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The younger girl told someone about Bell in late 2015. The second girl told her story afterward, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.

According to records, authorities in April filed an arrest warrant against Bell. He's charged with two counts of lewd acts upon a child and one count of forcible rape, all felonies.

Bell is next scheduled to appear in court on May 24.

Hudgins

Heidelberger questioned the basis for Hudgins' $500,000 bond, leading Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong to argue against reducing it.

"There's a strong argument that he is a predator," Pong said. "I think half-a-million-dollar bail is fair."

The judge said the bond appeared high before lowering it by half. She then ordered a pretrial release report, which will detail risk factors of Hudgins' release, if he were to make bond.

Hudgins is scheduled to return to court on Thursday.

Authorities have said Hudgins began texting a 16-year-old girl weeks ago. Last week officers learned about the texts, leading a deputy to start messaging Hudgins in the guise of the girl. Hudgins then made plans to meet in person at the Nevada City park.

Hudgins faces two felonies: contacting a minor with the intent to have sex and arranging to meet a minor. He also faces a misdemeanor count of annoying/molesting children, reports state.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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