Carson contractor pleads to lewdness charge

A contractor initially charged in the alleged molestations of two Carson City girls, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of open and gross lewdness.

In exchange for the plea, a felony charge of lewdness with a child under 14 and several additional gross misdemeanor counts of open and gross lewdness will be dismissed against Robert Hilke Jr., said Assistant District Attorney Gerald Gardner.

Hilke, 52, was set to go to trial on charges relating to one of the girls Aug. 18 and the other Sept. 2.

Before District Judge Bill Maddox on Tuesday morning, he entered the gross misdemeanor plea in relation to a charge that he pulled aside the bathing-suit bottoms of a 9-year-old girl and looked at her genitals on at least two occasions between June and November 2005.

"We felt that the evidence was strong in this case and that he had acted inappropriately with this victim," said Gardner. "And, we think the charge actually serves the interests of justice. He will be required to register as a sex offender and he will be facing up to a year in jail or probation."

The charge that is being dismissed by the District Attorney's Office relates to allegations that he repeatedly fondled a then-16-year-old girl between June and December 2005.

"Although we believe the victim's account of what happened, unfortunately, we had no other witnesses or corroborating evidence and just felt that we couldn't meet our burden of proof," said Gardner.

Hilke, owner of Hilke Construction in Carson City, remains free on $65,000 bail.

He will be sentenced on Sept. 16.


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