A 58-year-old operator of a San Diego childcare center pleaded not guilty today to four felony counts each of child molestation and child abuse.
Mark Lee Kaczmarczyk was arrested last month in Taiwan and recently was extradited to San Diego to face the charges, which involve children from a few months to just over 2 years old.
His wife, Anita Maria Kaczmarczyk, faces the same charges, which carry a maximum of 60 years to life in prison.
The couple ran the childcare business out of their Mission Valley apartment.
Authorities began investigating the defendants in September 2007, when one of the alleged victims was discovered with vaginal injuries. The prosecution alleges the molestations occurred between June and September of that year.
Deputy District Attorney Teresa Santana said outside the courtroom that the husband went to Taiwan, which does not have an extradition agreement with the United States, to set up a charity to work with young children.
"His passport expired, so we were able to get him," Santana said. "It was a very difficult process to get him extradited."
The FBI, Interpol and local law enforcement in both countries worked on the case, she said.
Defense attorney Gerald Smith told Judge David Szumowski that his client suffers from panic attacks and had no knowledge of any criminal investigation when he left the country.
Santana said the defendants have access to a trust fund with a large amount of money.
Szumowski set bail at $2 million and scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 25.
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