Child Molestation Suspects Were Shocked

March 5, 2008 12:40:19 PM PST
A South Valley man and his ex-girlfriend made their first official court appearance in a child molestation case.Jennifer Thurman and Steven Arthur were expressionless as they each walked into court on Tuesday. A judge delayed their trial so defense attorneys could look over police reports and seized videos.

The former couple faces 18 felony counts including child molestation and rape.

Afreen Kaelble, Prosecutor: "In this type of a case where you have involvement with child pornography and child molestation typically there is a lot of evidence there are a lot of things that need to be reviewed by the police officers and by the attorneys involved in the case."

An attorney for Steven Arthur says he is having a hard time dealing with the charges.

Wes Hamilton, Steven Arthur's Attorney: "He understands the charges he's in kind of a state of shock."

Prosecutors say the pair fed young neighborhood girls drugged cookies before molesting them on videotape. They say the crimes took place at Arthur's house in Porterville and had been going on since at least September.

The ex-couple is also facing federal charges for producing child pornography.

The district attorney's office says while Thurman may have lead police to videotapes depicting the crimes, she participated in the sexual assaults.

Kaelble: "We can prove that both of them committed all these crimes, that's why both of them are charged with the crimes."

Thurman's attorney says her client is shocked that she's in custody.

Melina Benninghoff, Jennifer Thurman's Attorney: "It was actually my client who along with her family who actually brought the allegations forward."

Jennifer Thurman and Steven Arthur will be back in court next month to set a date for their trial. Both face 15 years to life in prison for each of the five victims.


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