Trial of suspected child molester under way

By From page A2 | March 22, 2011

Prosecutors called a handful of witnesses Monday to testify against an El Dorado County man facing 11 counts of child molestation.

Kelly C. Mitchell, 49, is accused of committing lewd acts upon three different children under the age of 14. The 11 counts are alleged to have occurred between 1994 and 2009.

Mitchell was booked into the Placerville jail in February 2009.

On Monday, five different witnesses took the stand to testify against Mitchell, including two of the alleged victims.

The first witness called was a 44-year-old woman who said she was molested by Mitchell “several times” as a 7-year-old.

The woman told the court that she lost contact with Mitchell for several years but reconnected with him as a 12- or 13-year-old, during which time the “aggressive” defendant would molest her “whenever an opportunity arose.”

The witness said she was relieved to testify against Mitchell because she hoped “Kelly will be held accountable for what he did.”

During cross-examination, though, defense attorney Adam Weiner questioned the witness as to why she never reported the alleged molestation to law enforcement.

It was also revealed, during questioning of the witness’ mother, that the 44-year-old woman has battled a drug problem that included stints in rehab.

After Monday’s lunch break, another alleged victim was called to the stand by El Dorado County deputy district attorney Lisette Suder.

This witness, a 24-year-old woman, told the court that she lived in a Utah mobile home park with her uncle and Mitchell in 2001 as a 14-year-old.

The witness testified that she was raped in August 2001 when Mitchell allegedly came home late one evening.

During cross-examination, the woman admitted she never told Mitchell to stop and was unable to remember certain details from her written statement.

The then 14-year-old told a relative of the alleged rape and the authorities were called the next day.

When Mitchell was told of this, he supposedly left the residence on his bike.

“He took off and didn’t come back for any of his things,” another witness said. “He just took off.”

Nathan Christian, who lived in the same mobile home park, told the court that he witnessed Mitchell grope the 14-year-old the day after the alleged rape.

Christian’s credibility came into question by Weiner, though, when it was revealed he had served jail time in 2008 for a forgery conviction.

Defense witnesses were not called Monday, but Weiner told Judge Daniel B. Proud that he would present his case Tuesday morning.

Jurors in the case were picked last week. The jury on this case consists of seven men and five women.

Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He could face life in prison if convicted.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5069.

Jim Ratajczak

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