Man jailed on sex charges

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By MIKE MORRIS

A 40-year-old Copperopolis man is being held at Calaveras County Jail in lieu of $540,000 bail on charges that he had sex with children.

David Wayne Sundling was arrested late Thursday, after being called to the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department in San Andreas for questioning by two detectives.

Sundling is accused of ongoing sexual abuse of children, including committing lewd acts with children under the age of 14 and sodomy with a person under the age of 16.

Two girls were allegedly abused over a period of nine years, said sheriff's spokeswoman Debby Parsons.

Information on how the girls know each other or Sundling is not being released to protect the girls' identities.

Sundling, booked about 9 p.m. Thursday at the county jail, had an arraignment scheduled for today.

Parsons said child sex-abuse crimes are on the rise in Calaveras County.

In 2001, 11 people were arrested on suspicion of committing lewd acts with children. A year later, that number increased to 13, and rose to 16 cases last year. So far this year, two arrests have been made, including Sundling's.

Two former Sierra Conservation Center guards also face charges of sexual misconduct with minors.

In December, ex-SCC officer Robert Patrick Icenogle of Sonora was arrested after allegedly showing child pornography to young girls and fondling at least one 11-year-old girl. He faces seven felony counts and two misdemeanor counts in Tuolumne County Superior Court.

And in September 2002, another SCC officer Neil Alden Leash of San Andreas was arrested and faces 95 counts of child sex crimes in Calaveras County Superior Court.

He pleaded guilty to 11 federal counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one federal count of possessing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

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The Union Democrat
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