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.
Testimony will continue in trial of a lawsuit alleging that Adam Shacknai, the brother of millionaire Jonah Shacknai, killed Jonah Shacknai's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, at the Spreckels Coronado mansion in July 2011.
The Fred Hall Show is dubbed The Ultimate Outdoor Experience, featuring the hottest trends in outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, camping, hunting, scuba diving and international travel with over 700 exhibits and interactive displays at Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Two more schools face threats Thursday morning in Vista and city leaders are taking new action to stop them.
Rain showers are expected to reach San Diego County Thursday, but the brunt of a big storm impacting much of Southern California will miss San Diego County and instead hit north of here.
A San Diego County sheriff's deputy was free on bail Thursday following his arrest by Riverside County authorities on suspicion of lewd acts with a child.
The National Weather Service is predicting rain around San Diego County this week, potentially heavy rain on Thursday. People in unincorporated areas can get free sandbags at numerous locations to help them protect their homes, properties and communities.
The debate over dockless bikes rolled into Pacific Beach as the Town Council held a panel Wednesday night with bike and scooter sharing companies: Bird, LimeBike, ofo and Mobike.
Tieray Jones walked out of jail a free man Wednesday night just hours after a judge decided to not re-try him in the death of his stepson nearly 16-years ago.
DMV officers were out Wednesday, looking for people abusing the system. One woman was in tears as she was caught using a handicap placard issued to her adult son - who wasn't with her on the shopping trip.