A La Honda man already facing life in prison for allegedly sexually abusing his young stepdaughter and her friend was charged with additional molestation charges for a total of 40.
After the complaint was amended, Neil Aunko, 41, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the evidence and was held to answer on all counts. He returns to court July 30 to enter a Superior Court plea and potentially set a trial date.
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.
Aunko is accused of abusing the girl in her bedroom, sometimes literally pulling her into the room when she resisted, while her mother slept. 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, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Aunko left for Washington state as investigators looked into the girl’s claims and was arrested when he returned to San Mateo County.
Prosecutors said he reportedly denied all the allegations and claimed he was often entering the girl’s room because the family’s cat would run inside and he was trying to catch the animal.
The new charges are not due to new facts but because prosecutors can’t make any additions after a defendant waives his preliminary hearing, Wagstaffe said.
On top of the various child molestation charges, Aunko is also alleged to have committed sexual offenses against more than one victim. That allegation carries a potential life sentence.
Aunko remains in custody without bail.