Malibu Artist Denies Molesting 20-month-old Twin Daughters
Paul Alan Rusconi (Booking Photo)
Paul Alan Rusconi, 45, was arrested Friday on suspicion of lewd acts upon a minor and possession of child pornography.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Special Victims investigators believe the single father sexually assaulted his two daughters, both aged 20 months old.
Rusconi's attorney, Michael Chaney, says his client is sickened by the allegations.
"Paul did not possess child pornography, there was no lewd act committed. The very thought of such things nauseates him," Chaney said in an email statement to KTLA. "I have every confidence that the DA's office and the Sheriff's Dept. will review all the evidence and reach the same conclusion," Chaney continued.
"I'd ask people to reserve judgment until they know all the facts."
According to published reports, the children depicted in the photos are Rusconi's own daughters.
Neighbors said Rusconi had the little girls with a surrogate.
The children were placed with child protective services, according to Sheriff's Spokesperson Lillian Peck.
A contemporary pop artist from Santa Cruz, Rusconi's portraits of celebrities, musicians, skateboarders and politicians have been displayed in prestigious galleries throughout the country.
A 2008 image of President Barack Obama sold at auction for $20,000.
"I can assure you that these allegations are without basis," said Carlos Rivera, owner of Rivera and Rivera Gallery, where Rusconi's work is currently being featured.
"To call him a loving father is an understatement and to further these allegations without the journalistic integrity of further research is simply irresponsible."
In August 2010, HuffPost Arts blogger Emily Waldorf interviewed Rusconi, who said, "Some people don't think that what I do is art - but for me art exists by definition. The beautiful and most liberating thing about being an artist is the ability to say that what I make is art. Art exists because the author says so."
He also named his favorite Los Angeles hang out place as "Anywhere that my two girls are because I love them more than I knew was possible."
He was booked at Lost Hills Sheriff's Station and released Saturday night on $220,000 bail.
He is scheduled to be in court on Aug. 17.
No charges have been filed.