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Santa Clarita couple accused of sexually abusing children charged with additional felony counts

Santa Clarita couple accused of sexually abusing children charged with additional felony counts
Francisco Avendano, 42, and Jacqueline Wadsworth, 32. (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

A Santa Clarita couple accused of sexually abusing seven children over a span of 15 years was charged Friday with additional felony counts, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Francisco Avendano, 42, and Jacqueline Wadsworth, 32, already each faced two identical counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. Avendano also had been charged with four additional counts of the same nature.

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On Friday, Avendano pleaded not guilty to two additional counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and one count of continuous sexual abuse, the district attorney's office said. He and Wadsworth both pleaded not guilty to one count of lewd acts upon a child age 14.

The sexual abuse is alleged to have begun in January 2001 and continued to last December. The victims were between 3 and 14 years old and included family members as well as visitors to the couple's Newhall home.

The amended complaint led to Avendano's bail being raised to more than $2 million. Wadsworth's bail was increased to $220,000.

If convicted on all charges, Avendano faces a possible maximum sentence of 135 years to life and Wadsworth faces more than 10 years in prison.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 25.

For more California news, follow me @corinaknoll.

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