Arraignment for an alleged child molester was delayed Tuesday when he decided not to sign a guilty plea.
Moses A. Wungnema, 30, will be back in court next Tuesday, where he will have the opportunity to either plead guilty to a crime with a minimum 10-year sentence or profess his innocence. If found guilty, he could face life imprisonment.
During an emotional hearing in Judge Michael Fondi's district courtroom, it appeared Wungnema was going to admit to one count of unlawful sexual penetration.
But when Fondi asked him one last time to affirm his decision, Wungnema did not answer. His lawyer, public defender Mike Roth, advised him to take some extra time before making a final decision.
Wungnema was arrested April 19 at his home in the 900 block of North Saliman Road. Police were acting on reports that he forced several sexual acts on an 8-year-old girl. The girl's mother reported the incident.
The alleged victim reportedly said Wungnema had committed the abuse on several occasions, including earlier that day. The mother had taken the information to the family' pastor and then on to the sheriff's department, according to reports.
During an interview with investigators, Wungnema denied the charges, but after consulting with the same pastor, he confessed, the report said. He reportedly said the girl's version of the story was true.
Wungnema was booked on a charge of felony sexual assault on a child and remains at the Carson City Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
As part of the guilty plea agreement, the District Attorney's Office promised not to press other charges that could arise from Wungnema's relationship with the girl.
Wungnema indicated to Fondi that part of the reason he is considering a guilty plea is to avoid making the victim testify at a trial.