SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A husband and wife molested four children who came to their daycare center in Mission Valley, a prosecutor said Wednesday, but attorneys for the defendants said their clients were not guilty.
In her opening statement in the trial of Mark and Anita Kaczmarczyk, Deputy District Attorney Lucille Weismantel told a jury that the defendants worked together to cover up the abuse of the four children.
"This is a case about child molesters," the prosecutor said, calling the defendants "manipulative and deceptive."
Anita Kaczmarczyk, 45, took out a license to run "Anita's Family Daycare" out of the couple's small apartment at the end of 2006, and by September 2007 the four children - one girl and three boys - had suffered genital injuries, Weismantel told the jury.
"They (the defendants) worked together. They covered up together," the prosecutor alleged.
The victims came from four families that didn't know each other and brought their children to the defendants' daycare, according to Weismantel.
The father of a 2 1/2-year-old girl noticed blood in her diaper after picking her up from the defendants' home and found blood in a second diaper the next morning, the prosecutor said.
The girl's mother saw a scratch on the victim's genitals and took her to Rady Children's Hospital, where it was determined she had vaginal injuries, Weismantel said.
When contacted about the girl's injuries, Anita Kaczmarczyk shifted the focus to the child's parents, detailing their messy divorce, the prosecutor said.
During a search of the defendants' apartment, police found blood in a diaper belonging to a 1-year-old boy, Weismantel told the jury.
The investigation led to another family who said they discovered a bruise on their 2 1/2-year-old son's penis, the prosecutor said.
The parents of a 2-month-old boy told authorities they found a black pubic hair in his diaper and a scratch mark between his anus and his testicles, Weismantel said.
Anita Kaczmarczyk told authorities that she was always there with the children at the daycare, but witnesses said they found her husband alone with the children, according to the prosecutor.
Mark Kaczmarczyk, 59, was seen walking around the house dressed only in a towel while the children were there, Weismantel said.
On Dec. 8, 2008, Mark Kaczmarczyk fled the country to Taipei after moving thousands of dollars around in different accounts, the prosecutor said. A few months later, he was arrested and brought back to San Diego to face charges.
Mark Kaczmarczyk's attorney, Gerald Smith, told the jury that just because his client is a "touchy-feely" kind of guy who some people think is "weird" doesn't mean he's guilty of criminal charges.
Smith said his client would tell mothers who dropped off their children, "You're beautiful," or "You're the prettiest mother of them all."
When the father of the 2 1/2-year-old girl came to pick up his daughter, the toddler didn't want to go with him and wanted to stay at the Kaczmarczyks' daycare, Smith said.
After police questioned the child's father, he told them, "Check the daycare. He's weird," Smith told the jury.
Regarding the trip to Taipei, Smith said his client withdrew $30,000 but put it back into an account days later.
Mark Kaczmarczyk left the United States before any charges were filed, his attorney said.
"Nobody told Mark, `Hey, you can't leave,"' Smith told the jury.
Smith said the evidence points to somebody else injuring the children.
Gretchen von Helms, the attorney for Anita Kaczmarczyk, told the jury that her client is a "loving, kind and good mother" who is good with children.
Von Helms said the father of the female victim had his daughter when she was bleeding in her diaper.
"Where is that blood?" the attorney asked. "At his apartment."
Anita Kaczmarczyk - who has two children of her own - was totally licensed and very accommodating to the families who dropped their children at what amounted to a babysitting service, von Helms said.
The parents of the 2-month-old boy with the scratch and the parents of the 2 1/2-year-old boy with the bruise on his penis did not document the injuries or call police, von Helms said. And she said the boy with blood in his diaper had been suffering from a bad rash in his groin area.
Both defendants are charged with four counts each of child abuse and child molestation. They each face up to 66 years to life in prison if convicted, Weismantel said.
Federal and local agencies came together Tuesday to highlight the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Sites across San Diego will participate in the event this Saturday, Oct. 27, according to officials.
The November election is closing in, and as usual, there are plenty of propositions on the ballot. News 8 takes a look at each measure, starting with California Props 1-4 on bonds.
A former La Jolla Country Day School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with one of his 17-year-old female students pleaded not guilty today to felony charges.
Police are asking for the public's help today to find an 88-year-old man diagnosed with dementia, among other ailments, who went missing from his La Jolla home.
Patient care technical workers at UC San Diego are expected to begin a three-day strike Tuesday, part of a larger strike at 10 different UC campuses that organizers say is spurred by the universities outsourcing jobs to contract companies.
An all-day fitness festival is coming to America’s Finest City in early November. SweatCon Rally connects active enthusiasts in communities across the U.S. with a fitness experience unlike any other.
Police are asking for the public's help Tuesday to find a 19-year-old woman with the mental capacity of a 10-year-old child who went missing from her group home in the Jamacha-Lomita area.
News 8 takes a look at California propositions that you'll be voting on in November and exactly what they mean.
Mild temperatures Tuesday, rising through the week. Morning low clouds and fog becoming less widespread through the coming week.