A Silverthorne Police Officer pleaded not guilty to domestic violence charges during a disposition hearing at the Clear County courthouse on Tuesday. Jan. 3.
Prosecutors have charged Joel Ponedel, 38, of Evergreen, with third-degree assault, child abuse and harassment — all misdemeanors. Judge Cynthia Jones scheduled a two-day jury trial for June 8 and 9.
Ponedel was arrested last February on stalking and wiretapping charges, both felonies, in addition to the misdemeanor charges. But the District Attorney’s Office will drop the felony charges after determining they do not have the evidence to prove them, according to a spokesman for the 5th Judicial District.
Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor said Tuesday that Ponedel remains on paid administrative leave. He is a sergeant at the department.
After a Silverthorne police officer first raised concerns with Minor on Nov. 23, 2021, saying Ponedel’s wife believed him to be abusive, Minor asked the 5th Judicial District to investigate, according to the arrest affidavit filed in the case.
During a social event, Ponedel’s wife told the officer that she was emotionally abused and added that “it’s been physical in the past,” according to the affidavit. She also reportedly told the officer that Ponedel kept her car keys when she was home, but she had made a spare he didn’t know about and had a “safety plan” and a “go-bag” prepared in case she needed to leave.
Ponedel’s wife told investigators during an interview that her husband had threatened to take their 13-month-old son away from her and move out of state, according to the affidavit. She said she had talked to Ponedel about divorce in the past, to which he responded, “The only way you’re going to get out of this marriage is by six feet under,” the court documents state.
When investigators asked her about physical abuse, she told them Ponedel had hit her a couple of times in her face as well as bruised her right arm by grabbing her, according to the affidavit. In the December 2021 interview with investigators, she reportedly said that the most recent abuse had happened a month earlier and the first altercation happened around the time they got married in 2019. She said he would typically only hit her in places that were covered by clothing so as not to draw attention, the court documents state.
Ponedel’s wife explained to investigators that she wanted to get her nursing degree but was not able to because of her immigration status, according to the affidavit. She said Ponedel had been supportive of her getting her degree and agreed to marry her.
She alleged that from the beginning of their relationship Ponedel had been unfaithful to her and had affairs with other women, court documents state. The affidavit also describes alleged controlling behavior by Ponedel including using his wife’s phone to track her location, calling her to ask who she was with, accusing her of cheating, limiting who she could be friends with, scrolling through her phone at night and waking her up to ask about phone calls and texts she had received.
In a protection order, Ponedel has been ordered to vacate the couple’s home in Evergreen, and he’s restricted from communicating with his wife or any witnesses. He’s also restricted from possessing or purchasing firearms as well as consuming alcoholic beverages or controlled substances.
A motion hearing in the case is set for April 18.