Reno man, 75, given life term in fondling case

A 75-year-old Reno man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for fondling a 6-year-old relative during the 2008 Nevada Day parade in Carson City.

Samuel Wagstaff is eligible for parole in 10 years if an appeal fails for the May conviction on a felony charge of lewdness with a child under 14. Wagstaff's attorney asked for bail pending appeal of the conviction, which the judge denied, said Assistant District Attorney Gerald Gardner.

Gardner said Carson City law enforcement became aware of the action after investigators in Washoe County started looking into similar allegations there. Gardner said nothing has come from the Washoe County investigation, in which he allegedly molested another young girl who was a family friend.

"Mr. Wagstaff is a predator, a sexual predator," Gardner said Monday. "His incarceration is, frankly, long overdue."

Gardner said another young relative saw Wagstaff molest the 6-year-old girl, a rarity in these types of cases.

According to the police report, a witness reported that Wagstaff had the girl on his lap during the 2008 Nevada Day Parade on Carson Street when the witness noticed Wagstaff's hand moving under a blanket covering the child.

The witness said that when the blanket fell to the side, she could see that Wagstaff was rubbing the child's genitals through her clothes. The witness told the girl's mother, who took the girl off Wagstaff's lap and has since stopped speaking with him, according to the report.


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