Former deputy investigated for sexual assault allegations

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MINDEN - A former Douglas County sheriff's deputy, once honored as officer of the year, is under investigation for allegations of child sexual abuse here and in Texas, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

Donald Gene Mohling, 48, of Wellington, was arrested in Carson City on Sunday on a Texas warrant listing felony indictments for two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He is being held without bail in Carson City until Texas authorities pick him up.

Mohling was employed by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office as a deputy from September 1987 until he resigned Feb. 11 this year.

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini said Tuesday his department first became aware of charges pending against Mohling when the Nevada Division of Investigation arrested him on Dec. 16, 1999. Pierini said Mohling had been married while living in Texas, and the allegations were made against him by a stepchild. Mohling has remarried in Nevada.

Sherman, Texas, Police Department spokesman David Woods said Tuesday that Mohling, who was a firefighter when he lived in Sherman, was arrested following an investigation that began in January 1999.

Woods said Mohling's stepdaughter, who is now 24 years old, accused him of sexually assaulting her, performing sexual acts in front of her and having sexual intercourse with her between the time she was 5 years old until she was 12 years old. Woods said Mohling does not have a prior record.

Mohling bailed out of jail after the December arrest and was placed on administrative leave with pay. An internal investigation was initiated by the sheriff's office professional standards unit, which is made up of deputies and members of the Douglas County District Attorney's office.

Pierini said additional allegations in Douglas County of sexual abuse of a child surfaced during the internal investigation and Mohling resigned.

"We did open a criminal investigation regarding an event that allegedly occurred about 15 years ago. We have asked for independent investigators from Washoe County to help us during the investigation," Pierini said.

He said he could not divulge more information about that on-going investigation because personnel matters are confidential under state law.

Pierini said his department took all necessary actions once it learned of the charges against Mohling and is doing a complete investigation into the alleged illegal activities by Mohling in Douglas County.

Pierini said Mohling was a good deputy and his job performance never raised any suspicions.

"He did a pretty good job. There was no indication anything like this criminal act was going on. If he wasn't performing well, he wouldn't have been with our department," Pierini said.

The sheriff said Mohling was named officer of the year by a service club and the officers' association during his time with the sheriff's office.

Pierini said the department does an intensive background check into everyone it hires.

Currently, applicants must take a written, oral and physical test. The background check takes about two months, Pierini said, and includes checking computer law enforcement records, talking to references, family, friends and checking financial records.

That information is given to Chief Deputy Bob Rudnick, who reviews the information and follows up on any questions.

Another interview is done, and if the person is offered a job, the candidate must submit to a psychological evaluation.

"We do not hire anyone who is not 100 percent," Pierini said.

The applicant also takes a polygraph test, and during that test, "we even ask questions dealing with issues such as this," Pierini said.

"Everything is not perfect, but the chances of somebody having a criminal background are nil. The odds are that everyone we hire is a quality public servant," Pierini said.

He said Mohling was hired before he was sheriff, so he doesn't know if Mohling went through the process that is now used.


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