Parents plead not guilty to sexually assaulting daughters

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A woman accused with her estranged husband of sexually assaulting one of her two young daughters pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of committing a lewd act on a child under 14, child abuse and possession of child pornography.

Jennifer Rose Gastelum, 32, was ordered held on $500,000 bail and faces nearly 12 years in state prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Leonard Trinh.

Her children’s stepfather, 28-year-old Jonathan Gastelum, is charged with sexual intercourse with a child under 10, sodomy on a child, child abuse and oral copulation on a child and is expected to be arraigned next week, Trinh said.

The investigation into the Gastelums began last month when a law enforcement officer went undercover in an Internet chat room and talked with a man purporting to be a single dad, according to federal court documents.

The man allegedly sent the undercover officer photos of children involved in sexual acts, at times with an adult, and later sent a photo of a nude toddler tied to a bed with duct tape over her mouth, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Computer data led investigators to Jonathan Gastelum, who admitted distributing child porn, according to the FBI.

The defendants were arrested Tuesday, after the FBI served a search warrant on his Skyline Drive home.

Jennifer Gastelum, who was arrested at a different location, will be back in court Nov. 4 for a readiness conference and Nov. 6 for a preliminary hearing. Judge David Szumowski ordered her to have no contact with her daughters, ages 4 and 6.

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