A Sedalia man entered guilty pleas Friday in a child molestation case that was set for trial next week.
According to Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sawyer, Juan C. Ponce, 39, of the 1600 block of East Seventh Street, entered guilty pleas to two counts of first degree child molestation Friday morning in the Pettis County Circuit Court before Judge Keith Bail. A jury trial had been scheduled to begin Thursday morning.
Ponce was sentenced to five years to be served in the Department of Corrections for both counts.
According to court documents, the 9-year-old female victim was interviewed by Child Safe of Central Missouri Inc. Oct. 27 after she had told her mother that Ponce, her mother’s fiance who lives with them, had touched her.
The victim said Ponce had come into her room on five separate occasions and “did stuff” to her. During the first incident, she said Ponce touched her under her clothing and kissed her on the face.
During another incident, she said Ponce was on top of her “moving up and down,” but she pretended to be asleep. He then left the room because he heard someone walking near the room.
During a third incident, she said Ponce was “doing stuff to me and then I ran to the bathroom and locked the door.”
Ponce was interviewed Oct. 28 at the Sedalia Police Department, where he admitted to going into the victim’s room several times, and admitted touching her under her clothing on two occasions. He stated he “did not know why he did that.” He was arrested Oct. 28.