Standup comic Paula Poundstone pleaded innocent Tuesday morning to felony charges of lewd conduct on a girl under 14 and the endangerment of her own children.
"The idea that Paula could have mistreated any of the children in her care is beyond belief," Poundstone's lawyer Steven M. Cron said last week. "She is a committed, nurturing mother who has taken in numerous foster children ... and given them all a loving home and a new lease on life."
While accepting Poundstone's not-guilty plea, the judge at the arraignment also imposed two protective orders on the comic. One bars her from being in the presence of three children without another adult in the same room. The other forbids her from being in the presence of two other children under any circumstances, according to Deputy District Attorney Gina Satriano.
Poundstone was also ordered to stay away from all minor children unless their guardians or independent observers are present. She was specifically ordered not to threaten, harass or sexually molest children.
She is charged with three counts of committing a lewd act on a girl under the age of 14 and endangering two other girls and two boys. If convicted of all charges she could face up to 13 years and four months in prison.
The charges involve Poundstone's own children — three adopted children and two foster children — according to the county Department of Children and Family Services. All five are currently in the care of Child and Family Services. Prosecutors have not released details of the allegations.
It wasn't clear whether the children named in the protective orders were her own children.
The hearing was moved to the earlier time from July 27 at the comedian's request, and will be held at Santa Monica Superior Court, Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said Monday. Poundstone's attorney said his client wanted to rescue her reputation as quickly as possible.
"Paula is eager to get the proceedings going so she can have her day in court," attorney Steven M. Cron said in a statement. "By moving up her arraignment, we will finally be able to learn the basis of the charges brought by the district attorney and begin the process of clearing her name."
Poundstone posted $200,000 bail a short time after being arrested on June 27 in Malibu.
Poundstone has made regular appearances on the PBS children's program Storytime and as a panelist on the syndicated game show To Tell the Truth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.