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Man accused of committing sex act outside local daycare

Crime Watch

IDAHO FALLS — A Fort Hall man was arrested outside of a local daycare on Wednesday after reports that he was masturbating and screaming.

Lennox John Ponzo, 24, was charged with felony child sexual abuse – causing a minor to witness an act of sexual conduct, and misdemeanor disturbing the peace after allegedly masturbating outside of Little People’s Academy Daycare in Idaho Falls.

Idaho Falls police officers were dispatched to the daycare after reports that a man was “lying on the ground exposing himself, masturbating and yelling”.

According to court documents, an IFPD lieutenant arrived and saw Ponzo standing in front of the daycare with his genitals exposed while committing a sex act. When Ponzo noticed the lieutenant, he reportedly zipped up his pants and started to walk away. He was then detained by police.

One witness, a parent dropping off his child, stated that Ponzo was “yelling loudly and talking to himself”, and that he was “very erratic”. The witness stated that he was concerned, so he called 911.

Another witness, a worker at the daycare, stated that she noticed Ponzo standing on the corner when she got to work. She took one of her children out of the car and brought them into the daycare, but when she went back to the car to grab her second child, Ponzo was on the ground with his pants open while yelling. She then went into the daycare and called 911.

That witness stated that her 1-year old child was present during the incident.

Police learned that Ponzo also had an active Bannock County misdemeanor warrant and was arrested and booked into the Bonneville County Jail.

Court documents say that it was “obvious that he was intoxicated or under the influence of some sort of controlled substance.”

Ponzo was originally charged with indecent exposure but the charge was later changed to child sexual abuse due to the fact that children had witnessed the act.

An order was filed on June 30 to seal the details of the incident, but this motion was denied.

A preliminary hearing is set for July 12. If convicted, Ponzo could face up to 25 years in prison.

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