Rape charged dropped against son

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STATELINE - Thomas Soria Sr. was bound over for trial in Douglas District Court after waiving a preliminary hearing Wednesday on a charge he raped a 15-year-old girl.

A charge against his son, Thomas Jr., 19, was dropped after prosecutors said they could not substantiate allegations that the younger man conspired with his father to assault the girl.

The pair also are charged with the kidnap, rape and murder of 9-year-old Stateline resident Krystal Steadman who disappeared March 19 from the Lake Park Apartments on Kahle Drive in Stateline. Her nude body was found early the next day off Highway 50, two miles from Carson City.

Soria Sr. waived the hearing Wednesday in Tahoe Township Justice Court in which his attorney could have argued against evidence in the case. He will be arraigned June 6 in the Douglas County District Court.

"There was no evidence against Thomas Soria Jr.," Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins said following the dismissal. He did not explain why earlier allegations of collusion between the pair could not be substantiated.

Soria Jr. was originally charged with convincing the girl that his father, whom he referred to as his "Uncle Tom," would die from ruptured tumors if she did not have sex with him.

The nervous girl waited in the courtroom among family and friends before the hearing was waived. She did not testify against Soria Sr.

The girl had come forward with the charges after allegations of the Sorias' involvement in the Steadman murder were publicized. She allegedly told her mother about the incident, who then passed that information on to law enforcement.

Krystal's sister, 25-year-old Sonya Klempner, bowed her head as Soria Sr. was brought into the courtroom.

After the hearing she said the experience has been wrenching. "We're dealing with it the best we can, but it just gets sicker every day."

Klempner said she will honor her sister's memory by attending courtroom hearings.

The Sorias are scheduled to appear May 8 for a preliminary hearing in the case of the kidnapping, murder and rape of Krystal. Evidence presented at that hearing will decide whether one or both will face the charges in district court.

Also on Wednesday, defense attorneys Tod Young and Michael Rosier complained they were not receiving information in a timely manner from the Douglas County District Attorney's Office. But Justice of the Peace Stephen D. McMorris ruled that prosecutors had not been lax in their delivery of evidence to the defense team.

Rosier said a slow exchange of information is endangering Soria Sr.'s constitutional right to a speedy trial. "We are trying to do everything we can for Mr. Soria," he said.


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