Carson City officer surrenders on felony warrant
A Carson City alternative sentencing officer surrendered to authorities Tuesday on a warrant charging him with molesting six females probationers he was supervising.
Aaron Lewis, 36, of Dayton, turned himself in to the Douglas County Jail at
1 p.m. He was booked and released on his own recognizance, said Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Halsey.
A criminal complaint filed in Carson City District Court last week charges Lewis, who is married with children, with seven felony counts of misconduct of a public officer, eight gross misdemeanor counts of oppression under color of office, six gross misdemeanor counts of open and gross lewdness and one felony count of coercion using physical force.
The complaint alleges that Lewis, an officer with the Carson City Department of Alternative Sentencing, which monitors people out on bail and on city probation, used threats of arrest to force at least six women to disrobe, touched one woman’s genitals while touching himself, and subjected the women to inspections of their genitals and breasts under the ruse that he was looking for drugs or needle marks between May and September 2010.
According to Carson City Alternative Sentencing Chief Rory Planeta, the allegations came to light in September and Lewis was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay. He is still currently employed by Carson City.
“Once we got an allegation we went by the book and we went ahead and put him on admin leave. We requested Douglas County do an internal investigation and because the allegations were serious enough I requested the Attorney General’s Office do a criminal investigation. We’ve been out of it ever since,” said Planeta.
He said the internal investigation continues. Findings are expected in the coming days.
“From there, there’s a review board and we’ll do what the review suggests as the next course of action,” Planeta said. “According to the Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights we have to maintain employment until the (internal investigation) is done at the very least. Just because there was an arrest doesn’t mean he’s automatically terminated.”
He said although the results of the investigation cannot be released, the action taken in response to the findings will be.
Lewis’ attorney Larry Digesti said his client’s being released without posting bail is common practice.
“He is not a threat to abscond and not a threat to the community and that’s the purpose of bail. An or release, frankly, it’s not all that uncommon,” said Digesti.
Lewis is also the subject of a civil lawsuit in which Melissa Mulder, 20, alleges Lewis molested her while she was under his supervision. Carson City also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Reno.
No trial date in the civil suit has been set.
Mulder, on alternative sentencing for drug charges, is among the six women in the criminal complaint. Her mother initially reported the alleged assault on Sept. 8 after Mulder came home crying from a meeting with Lewis, court documents indicate.
Lewis was hired to work at the Department of Alternative Sentencing in April 2009. Prior to that he worked in the Nevada Department of Corrections and as a deputy with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department.