LOGAN — A 75-year-old Logan man has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two young girls earlier this year. Roberto G. Ponce has been in the Cache County Jail since being arrested in March.
Ponce participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference from jail. He accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.
On March 12, Logan City police officers received a complaint from the victim’s grandmother. She described how the two girls, ages 6 and 7-years-old, had disclosed to her that Ponce had been molesting them.
The woman later confronted Ponce during a secretly recorded interaction. During the conversation, he admitted to molesting the girls multiple times during the past year. The woman provided police with the audio from the exchange.
As the investigation continued, the victims were interviewed by officers at the Children’s Justice Center. They described being touched by the suspect, “lots of times.”
Ponce was questioned by officers and later booked into jail, where he has been held without bail.
As part of deal Wednesday, prosecutors agreed to drop eight remaining charges against Ponce. They will also recommend a lesser prison term at the time of sentencing.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray said they worked out the plea deal after discussing the case with the victim’s family. The agreement will keep the young girls from having to testify against Ponce during a trial.
Ponce spoke only briefly during the hearing, explaining he was willingly waive his right to a fair trial and plead guilty to the charges.
Judge Brian Cannell ordered Ponce to complete a presentence report, compiled by probation agents. He ordered the defendant to appear again in court Oct. 20 for sentencing.
Ponce could still be sentenced up to life in prison.