Former officer may face charge
A man accused of engaging in sexual activity with a prisoner while he was employed as a Nevada County Sheriff’s officer may soon face a felony charge of sexual misconduct.
Tony DeMeo, sheriff of Nye County, Nevada, said Tuesday he has filed a report with the Nye County District Attorney’s Office recommending the Nevada County Sheriff’s transport officer be charged with sexual conduct with a prisoner.
The accused officer was transporting the prisoner on the evening of Oct. 1 from the Nye County detention facility in Pahrump, Nevada to the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada City, DeMeo said
He was a reserve, part-time deputy assigned to transporting prisoners at the time of the alleged incident, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. He had been a full-time deputy for more than 20 years before he retired, then took on the part-time position. The officer resigned immediately after the alleged sexual activity occurred.
The Union will not release the officer’s name until charges are filed against him.
“We’re waiting for physical evidence to come back from the lab,” DeMeo said Tuesday, referring to the crime lab in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “Once the DNA results come back, the District Attorney will decide whether to file.”
The accused officer and the prisoner have conflicting stories:
The 23-year-old alleged victim told investigators they will find DNA in the Tonopah hotel room where the alleged incident occurred from both men.
DeMeo said the accused officer told investigators they would find DNA only from the alleged victim.
“He said he was tired after driving 200 miles from Nevada County so he stopped at the hotel,” DeMeo said, adding that the officer could have stayed the night at the Tonopah detention facility, which is about six miles from the hotel.
He said it is not proper procedure for an officer to take a prisoner to a hotel room to spend the night during long trips.
“You’re responsible for that prisoner, for their care and safe keeping. This was a fugitive from Nevada County,” he said. “This isn’t the John Mark Carr first-class treatment. You’re supposed to make sure they’re secure and avoid any appearance of impropriety.”
Early the next morning at about 3 a.m., sheriff’s dispatchers received a 911 call from the alleged victim, who was calling from the hotel room.
DeMeo said deputies arrived to the hotel and started knocking on doors when they came across the prisoner.
Investigators began gathering evidence right away, DeMeo said, including physical evidence from the room and statements from the accused officer and the prisoner.
Other deputies from Nevada County were called in to retrieve the prisoner and transport him the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility.
DeMeo said the DNA results may not be available for another two months, because of its low priority in comparison to pending rape and murder cases, which take precedence.
Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said he cannot reveal much about the investigation.
“(The former officer) was an employee at the time, and we can’t talk about employee matters,” he said Tuesday.
He said he will be able to talk about the issue if the officer is charged by the Nye County District Attorney’s Office.
To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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