Davis day care operator Eduardo Alejandro Letelier was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail and told to surrender his passport after pleading not guilty Tuesday to charges of child molestation and resisting arrest in Yolo Superior Court.
Letelier, 43, stands accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl at Ximina’s Day Care, the home-based business he and his wife have operated on Braddock Court in Davis since 2001.
Police said the child’s mother reported a sexual assault at the day care center July 13.
Davis police armed with a search warrant arrested Letelier on Thursday after officials said he fled the home and attempted to leap over a gate to a neighbor’s house, where Yolo County prosecutors on Tuesday said his car was parked.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Social Services on Tuesday said it had temporarily suspended the facility’s license, days after launching an investigation in the wake of Letelier’s arrest.
Retired Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock ordered Letelier to return July 27 to Yolo Superior Court to set a preliminary hearing date.
Letelier’s counsel, Gold River attorney Michael Chastaine, called on Mock to reduce Letelier’s bail to $250,000, saying the Davis man had no criminal history and was not a flight risk while citing the Davis man’s ties to family and city. Letelier, in gray and white jail uniform, stood in a near corner of the courtroom’s safety glass-enclosed cell, largely expressionless, his hair tied in a pony tail.
Yolo County prosecutors, calling the claimed abuse a “life crime,” pushed for the higher bail, saying Letelier had plans to flee the country.
Mock agreed, ordering bail to remain at $1 million and ordering Letelier not to have contact with minors other than his own child.
Chastaine spoke with reporters after the afternoon hearing and maintained Letelier’s innocence.
“We’re quite confident that Eduardo is not guilty of this,” Chastaine said. “He’s upset. His life has been turned upside down, as has his family’s. They’ve expended a lot of resources. Their day care has been closed down. This shows how easily a life can be torn apart. We’ll show this never happened.”