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New Charges Against Counselor In East Bay Molestation Case

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Thomas Jewell (Pleasant Hill Police Dept.)

Thomas Jewell (Pleasant Hill Police Dept.)

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MARTINEZ (BCN) – Prosecutors filed additional charges Tuesday against a former Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall counselor accused of molesting three boys and using them to produce child pornography.

Thomas Jewell, a 53-year-old Pleasant Hill resident, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to all the charges and enhancements.

He is now facing a total of 73 felonies, Deputy District Attorney Dana Filkowski said.

All but six of those charges are for sexual assault or molestation of a child 15 years old or younger. The remaining charges include one count of possession of child pornography, two counts of using a child to create pornography, two counts of showing pornography to a child and one count of attempting to dissuade a witness from testifying, Filkowski said.

Jewell has also been charged with enhancements for allegedly committing the crimes against multiple victims.

The alleged crimes began in 2005 and took place in Pleasant Hill, Pittsburg and Antioch, Filkowski said.

Jewell is being held without bail in Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez. During his hearing Tuesday, he agreed that even if he were released, he would not practice as a counselor while the criminal and administrative cases are under way.

He had been registered through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as a marriage and family therapist intern, but the state Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the board, is seeking to revoke that registration.

Jewell also has a separate case pending in federal court in which he is charged with producing, possessing and transporting child pornography.  His attorney, Deborah Levine, said he has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

Martinez police were the first to begin investigating Jewell after they traced pornographic images of children found on the Internet back to Jewell’s computer, police said.

When investigators seized Jewell’s computers, they found thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography and were able to identify the victims.

Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek police and the FBI joined in the investigation.

Jewell is scheduled to return to court March 22 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

Pleasant Hill police have set up a tip line for the case and are urging anyone who may have been victimized by Jewell or who accepted any gifts or money from him to call (925) 676-1273.

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