Wednesday, July 4, 2001
Santa Monica, Calif. Children who live near Paula Poundstone demonstrated outside the courthouse where the comedian pleaded innocent Tuesday to child molestation in a case her lawyer said is "ripping her guts out."
Poundstone, 41, was tearful before her arraignment on four felony charges ï¿½ three of committing a lewd act on a girl under the age of 14 and one of endangering two other girls and two boys.
If convicted of all charges she could face up to 13 years and four months in prison.
Kyman ordered Poundstone, 41, to keep away from children unless their guardians or independent observers are present and ordered her not to threaten, harass or sexually molest children. The prosecutor said such orders were standard in these kinds of cases.
The arraignment was originally scheduled for late this month but a judge agreed to reschedule it for Tuesday. Poundstone's lawyer, Steven Cron, said the performer wants her day in court to prove the charges are unfounded.
"It is ripping her guts out," Cron said. "I can't tell you how upset she is."
Poundstone has three adopted children and two foster children. All five are in protective custody.
Outside court a group of neighbors, including several children, carried signs saying, "We love you, Paula."
"She always throws parties for the kids and goes way out of her way to show them a good time," neighbor Paul Shepherd said.
"She deserves an award for best mom," said Shepherd's 12-year-old daughter. "She's like Mary Poppins," said another girl.