A La Honda area man who prosecutors say sexually abused his young stepdaughter for three years and molested her friend at sleepovers is facing life in prison if jurors convict him of even some of the multiple felonies charged.
Neil Aunko, 40, has pleaded not guilty and will learn April 7 if he’ll stand trial on six counts of various sexual acts with a child 10 or under, six counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 by using force or fear, five counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 without force or fear and having committed sexual offenses against more than one victim.
He had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Monday but it was moved back because his defense attorney is in another case
Aunko is accused of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter beginning in 2010 when she was 9 years until August 2013. The abuse began quickly after Aunko married the mother and occurred in both San Mateo and the La Honda area, according to prosecutors.
He would enter her bedroom — sometimes even pulling her physically into the room when she resisted — and hit her legs and arms if she fought his pulling off her pajamas, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
The girl’s mother did not know what was going on because the incidents always happened while she was sleeping, Wagstaffe said.
Aunko is also charged with molesting the girl’s friend at four different sleepovers by climbing on top of her while she slept and simulating sex over her clothing.
The friend told the stepdaughter’s mother what Aunko allegedly did to her which led the woman to question her daughter and learn of the three years of sexual abuse, Wagstaffe said.
Aunko left for Washington state as investigators looked into the girl’s claims and was arrested when he returned to San Mateo County.
He reportedly denied all the allegations and said he was often entering the girl’s room because the family’s cat would run inside and he was trying to catch the animal, Wagstaffe said.
If convicted, Aunko faces the possibility of a life sentence in several ways because each of the charges carries up to that maximum.
Aunko remains in custody without bail.
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