Family upset sex offender given bail on DUI charge
A Carson City man awaiting sentencing in the sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl was allowed to bail out of jail on a drunken driving charge this week, outraging the victim’s family.
“We think he shouldn’t be able to get out of jail,” said the girl’s father Wednesday afternoon. “He was out on bail and a condition of his bail was he couldn’t get in any trouble. He got into trouble.”
Darren Sweetland, 37, will be sentenced Feb. 2 for the incident Oct. 19, 2002, that occurred while the victim’s mother slept on a couch in a nearby room.
He was released on $100,000 bail Oct. 31, 2002, and pleaded guilty to felony battery with intent to commit sexual assault, Dec. 2, 2003 – the day his jury trial was to begin.
In exchange for the plea, charges of felony sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14, felony assault with a deadly weapon, gross misdemeanor false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery were dropped.
Sunday, Sweetland was arrested by Carson City deputies on suspicion of drunken driving. He bailed out Monday after appearing for a reading of the charge before Justice of the Peace Robey Willis.
District Attorney Noel Waters said the drunken driving arrest could cause his sexual assault bail to be revoked, but it is up to the district court judge hearing the case.
“He was processed as a DUI offender. The (justice of the peace) didn’t have this sexual assault case before him at the justice court level or hadn’t picked up on, or acted on, the fact that he (Sweetland was out on bail in a pending felony,” Waters said.
The victim’s father said everyone should be concerned Sweetland is out and allegedly drinking.
“He was totally hammered the night he got caught doing this with my daughter,” he said. “If he is out drinking, the same thing could happen again.”
Sweetland faces up to 15 years in prison on the sexual assault charge and will be require to register as a sex offender once his time is served, Waters said. A hearing on the alleged drunken- driving charge is set for Jan. 22.
Contact F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.