Donny Pauling

Prior to his trial, Donny Pauling prepares to represent himself at the Sutter County Courthouse on Thursday, September 24, 2015 in Yuba City.

Donny Pauling Jr. pleaded no contest Thursday to four felony sex charges involving two minors, a plea deal that would send him to state prison for six years.

The plea marked the end to a dizzying saga of sex crime charges that also implicated the former commander of the Sutter County Jail.

Pauling, 41, acting as his own attorney, admitted to oral copulation and having sexual intercourse with a victim 14 years old in 2012, continuing into 2014. He also admitted to lewd or lascivious behavior with a girl related to former Sutter County sheriff's Capt. Lewis McElfresh, "motivated by an unnatural or abnormal interest in children," according to the plea.

The facts of the plea also stated McElfresh masturbated while watching Pauling commit sex acts with that girl, who was then 16 years old.

Furthermore, Pauling pleaded to a misdemeanor charge of massaging a third victim's genitals in early 2014. That victim was 16 years old at the time.

Sutter County Superior Court Judge Susan Green set sentencing for Nov. 12.

In addition to six years in state prison, of which he must serve at least three years, Pauling also must register as a sexual offender for life. Pauling also agreed to a period of parole ranging from three years to life following his release from prison.

A former Chico-based pornography producer, Pauling had said he found God and traveled to churches around the country as an anti-pornography activist. He lived in Yuba City when he was arrested Dec. 1 on suspicion of ongoing sexual acts with a teen girl. Investigation led to two additional alleged victims and charges.

McElfresh is tied to Pauling's case, but is being tried separately. Pauling's plea does not resolve that case, said Deputy District Attorney Anu Chopra.

McElfresh is charged with five felonies — burglary, arranging a meeting with a minor for the purpose of immoral acts, unlawful sex with a minor, child endangerment and providing a firearm to a convicted felon — and misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and annoying or molesting a minor.

Most of the charges involve the single incident with Pauling.

Pauling's plea did not include any stipulations to testify in McElfresh's trial, although that doesn't mean Pauling won't testify, Chopra said.

McElfresh is scheduled for a felony pretrial conference on Nov. 9.

CONTACT reporter Andrew Creasey at 749-4780 and on Twitter @AD_Creasey.

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