By Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com
Ernie Tichenor appeared in a Virginia courtroom Nov. 9 just long enough to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, where he could have challenged the strength of prosecutors’ evidence against him.
Tichenor, a former Valencia resident who served on the College of the Canyons Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2009 when he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, was charged in August with soliciting sex over the Internet from a child under age 15.
Court officials said Tichenor, who now lives in Fairfax County, Va., and is being tried in neighboring Loudoun County, bypassed the preliminary hearing and asked to go directly to trial. He has not entered a plea of guilt or innocence.
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Virginia’s criminal court system works somewhat differently from California’s. Tichenor’s case file was in transit this week from the juvenile court, where his preliminary hearing was scheduled, to the circuit court, where he’ll face a trial by jury. As a result, court officials did not immediately know his impending trial date.
Tichenor, 55, is accused of placing personal want ads on the Craigslist website seeking a “naughty young student” and “college girl in need of $$$$$.” Last week a sheriff’s spokesman said the messages baited a 13-year-old Loudoun County girl who exchanged e-mails with Tichenor that the girl’s mother found inappropriate.
Mom called the cops, who raided the man’s home and seized computers and data files. Tichenor was arrested Aug. 15 and released two days later on $5,000 bond.