AG seeks to dismiss final Lewis charges
March 28, 2012
The Nevada Attorney General’s Office is seeking to dismiss the remaining charges against former alternative-sentencing officer Aaron Lewis.
Lewis was found not guilty on March 9 of three charges relating to allegations that he molested six women in the course of his duties. The 12-member jury was deadlocked on the remaining 19 charges, which included misconduct of a public officer, open or gross lewdness, oppression under color of office, and coercion with physical force or threat of immediate threat of physical force.
According to a friend, Lewis, 37, won’t comment publicly until the judge formally approves Senior Deputy Attorney General Ronda Clifton’s request. But when the not-guilty verdicts were returned, Lewis was heard proclaiming his innocence while his family and supporters broke into cries of relief.
“(The accusations against him were) a police officer’s worst nightmare, and it happens to police officers all across the country,” said his attorney, Reno-based Larry Digesti. “It’s been a living hell for him and his whole family.”
Digesti could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Jennifer M. Lopez, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, wrote in an email that the agency decided against retrying the case because “we do not want to put the young women through the trauma of testifying again.”
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Lewis’ ordeal began in September 2010 when Melissa Mulder, then 20, filed a lawsuit against him. During the preliminary hearing, the bulk of which was held in June 2011, it was revealed that Mulder had been a former stripper and a heroin addict. Mulder kicked off the investigation when she filed a civil suit against Lewis – proof that her motivations were financial, Digesti argued.
Several other accusers also were found to have substance-abuse issues, and all had consumed drugs, alcohol or both on the days of the reported incidents.
“I think the jury reached the right decision, and I honestly believe, and will believe it forever, that the accusations were false,” Digesti said after the verdict was read. “(The women) were motivated for financial reasons and … a lot of these young women simply did not like Aaron Lewis and did not like the Department of Alternative Sentencing. It could have been Aaron, and it could have been anyone else in that same situation.”