A Rancho Cucamonga couple who make and star in pornographic videos have been charged with sexually abusing a young girl, authorities said.
Jason Whitney, 43, and Melinda Smith, 35, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to eight counts of sexual acts with a child and one count of possessing a controlled substance while armed with a handgun, according to the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office.
The investigation began last week after deputies received a tip about a girl being abused at a Rancho Cucamonga home, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Detectives interviewed the girl, who said she had been assaulted several times. Officials determined the abuse happened over four months and included inappropriate touching, oral copulation and digital penetration, the Sheriff’s Department said. It’s unclear what the girl’s relationship is with Smith and Whitney, and authorities would only say she was younger than 10.
Smith is an actress who has performed in pornographic videos under the name Mercedes Carrera, and Whitney is a producer and director of pornographic movies, web shows and award shows in the adult film industry, sheriff’s officials said.
Authorities said the couple’s bedroom was set up to record pornographic and web videos. Detectives found “a large amount of evidence corroborating the victim’s statement” inside the suspects’ home, as well as methamphetamine and two loaded handguns.
The two were booked into the West Valley Detention Center and were denied bail.
“No additional information will be released about the victim in an effort to protect the identity of the girl,” said Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.