Fallon man sentenced for child contact
November 5, 2013
A Fallon man accused of a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl was sentenced Tuesday in District Court to two gross misdemeanor charges.
Stephen Patterson, charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a child, received a 364-day sentence for the first charge and a suspended 364-day sentence for the second. He was placed on probation for up to three years and ordered to have no contact with the girl or her family.
Patterson was initially charged with 70 counts of felony statutory sexual seduction with a child under 16 at the time of his arrest. In a February hearing, hefaced 39 felony charges.
Churchill County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Shawcroft said the prosecution had a strong case, but rehashing the past with sexual abuse victims puts the victim in a tough place.
Dave Neidert, Patterson's attorney, said the prosecution did not have a strong case, and that his client could not have had a sexual relationship because he was impotent.
Tenth Judicial District Court Judge Tom Stockard countered both attorneys' claims.
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"Strong cases don't give these offers," he said. "Strong cases don't take these offers."
Nevertheless, a relationship took place between March 2012, through December 2012, according to court records.
Shawcroft, though, said the girl was the "perfect victim" because she was vulnerable. In addition, Shawcroft said the Patterson told the girl their relationship was wrong, but it did not stop.
Neidert, meanwhile, said an expert witness was ready to testify that Patterson's sexual acts were unlikely to have happened due to the impotency.
Patterson told Stockard the charges against him were "totally false."
"It was a made a big deal for something I didn't do," Patterson said.
In other court news —
Jeffery Rechel received a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail after he plead guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Rechel had a .22-caliber rifle in his truck during a raid by the North Central Narcotics Task Force searching for Charles DeSelms on June 13.
Rechel was placed on probation up to three years and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service in the first year.
Jessica Leann Hitchcock appeared Tuesday for an arraignment, but the case was continued one week.
Stockard recused himself after he disclosed Hitchcock had worked at his home during the summer. A senior judge will preside over further hearings.
Hitchcock's attorney, Dave Neidert, said his client is expected to plead guilty to one count of battery with a deadly weapon. Hitchcock is suspected of stabbing Ronald Austin on Oct. 14.