Churchill sheriff’s deputy arrested on lewdness charges
A Churchill County sheriff’s deputy faces charges of obscene or indecent exposure and open or gross lewdness after his arrest Friday by the Nevada Division of Investigation.
Bradley T. Bergman was arraigned on the charges Friday then transported to the Pershing County Jail where he posted $5,000 bail and was released.
The charges are gross misdemeanors punishable by one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Sheriff Richard Ingram said Bergman has been placed on administrative leave with pay while the criminal and an internal investigation proceeds.
Ingram said he learned about the allegations made against the deputy Thursday. To avoid any conflict of interest or bias, Ingram met with District Attorney Arthur Mallory, and they decided to ask the Nevada Division of Investigation to handle the investigation into the woman’s claims.
“The investigation started immediately, and I was notified Friday afternoon that the investigator from NDI had put Bergman under arrest,” the sheriff said.
A criminal complaint filed in Churchill County Justice Court alleges Bergman fondled an unnamed woman’s breasts without her consent Sept. 21. He was not on duty at the time.
The document also claims Bergman grabbed the woman’s hand multiple times and placed it on his genitals. The alleged offenses occurred on Santa Fe Drive and reported by a woman who turned 18 years old two months ago.
Bergman could not be contacted for comment.
Mallory said the alleged victim and her family came to his office Thursday morning to report the allegations.
He said because the accused is a sheriff’s deputy, the family chose to report the incident to him rather than the sheriff’s department.
“I talked to the lady, and at the point, we realized it should be looked into further. I talked to the sheriff, and we turned it over to NDI,” Mallory said Monday. “From Thursday morning on, all the decisions were made by NDI and the (Nevada) Attorney General’s office.”
Lt. David Jones of the Nevada Division of Investigation wouldn’t reveal details of the case, saying it is “unique due to its sensitivity.”
Justice of the Peace Dan Ward set bail Bergman’s bail and ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim or her family. Bergman was transported to the Lovelock jail for his own safety, the judge stated, and will report to court Thursday for a status hearing.
Sheriff Ingram said the department will conduct an internal investigation.
Nevada law and the collective-bargaining agreement between the county and deputies outlines a process for disciplinary procedures when investigations are conducted.
Bergman joined the sheriff’s office in 1995. He has worked in the jail, as a patrol deputy and is currently assigned to investigations.