Booking photo for Roberto Gustavo Ponce (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — A 74-year-old Logan man has waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of sexually abusing two young girls. Roberto G. Ponce will be bound for trial while attorneys work out a possible plea deal in the case.
Ponce participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday afternoon, appearing by video from the Cache County Jail. He had been charged previously with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.
Public defender Ryan Holdaway told the court his client wished to waive the preliminary hearing, where Judge Brian Cannell would have determined whether prosecutors had sufficient evidence to show the crimes were committed. He said, he and prosecutors were trying to reach a favorable resolution to the case.
According to an arrest report, Logan City police officers received a complaint from the alleged victim’s grandmother March 12. She claimed the two girls, ages 6 and 7-years-old, had disclosed to her that Ponce had been molesting them.
Officers report, the woman confronted Ponce during a secretly recorded interaction. During the conversation, he allegedly admitted to molesting the girls multiple times during the past year. The woman provided police with the audio from the exchange.
As the investigation continued, the alleged victims were interviewed by officers at the Children’s Justice Center. They described being touched by the suspect, “lots of times.”
Police later questioned Ponce. He admitted to touching the girls both over and under their clothing, but then asked to discontinue the interview.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Cannell ordered Ponce to appear again in court May 5.
Ponce spoke only briefly during the virtual hearing, explaining that he was willingly waive his rights. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.