|Pastor's Sex-crimes Case Set for Jury Trial
By Rob Parsons
September 9, 2010
A four-day jury trial was confirmed Thursday in the case against a former Baptist pastor charged with sexually assaulting two teenagers from his congregation.
July selection begins Sept. 27 in the Orland branch of Glenn County Superior Court for Carlton F. Hammonds.
Hammonds, 56, has pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of performing lewd acts and sexual battery against two teenage girls, court records state.
Judge Peter B. Twede will preside over the case.
Hammonds appeared in court Thursday with his family to confirm the long-delayed trial.
It is not clear if the reported victims in the case will testify. A phone call to the District Attorney’s Office on Thursday was not immediately returned.
The former preacher was arrested outside the Baptist church on Tehama Street on Nov. 20, the result of a three-year investigation, Glenn County sheriff’s officials said. He posted a $100,000 bail bond and was released Thanksgiving Day.
The Sheriff’s Office began investigated Hammonds in 2006 and filed a criminal complaint against Hammonds in May 2008, but staffing turnover at the Glenn County District Attorney’s Office slowed progress.
Frequent scheduling conflicts and failed plea bargain negotiations further stalled court proceedings in subsequent months following Hammonds’ arrest.
Hammonds waived his preliminary hearing in January.
The charges stem from a series of incidents that reportedly took place in June and July of 2006, court records state.
Prosecutors have said they believe Hammonds victimized many more from his church, but elected only to charge him on the four felony counts.
Assistant District Attorney Dwayne Stewart has said he believes Hammonds’ wife, Nancy, who reportedly runs a day care center from the family’s home, facilitated access to the reported victims and was “complicit” in the reported abuse.
Prosecutors opted not to seek criminal charges against Nancy Hammonds because they said it was not clear if she had any knowledge of specific attacks.
Stewart described a “26-year pattern” in which he said Hammonds’ wife knew of his “propensity towards these types of acts,” but said she “turned a blind eye.”
In April, Judge Donald C. Byrd said Nancy Hammonds could continue to operate the day care center from her home, but said Carlton Hammonds could not be in the presence of children.
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