Man pleads guilty in sex assault of girl, 9 |

Man pleads guilty in sex assault of girl, 9

by F.T. Norton

A Carson City man, accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl and threatening her mother at knifepoint when confronted, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge moments before jury selection was to begin in his trial.

Darren John Sweetland, 36, pleaded guilty to felony battery with intent to commit sexual assault on a minor under the age of 16. 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.

The victim’s mother agreed to the plea bargain, District Attorney Noel Waters said.

“It’s not easy for a child that age to come to a courtroom and talk to a roomful of strangers about all sorts of lurid, sexual details,” said Waters.

He said he plans to ask for the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison when Sweetland is sentenced in February.

According to court documents, the child said Sweetland, who is known to the family, forced himself on her while her mother slept on the couch. Hours later, when the mother awakened, the child told her what happened.

The report states when the mother confronted Sweetland, he allegedly threw her onto the bed, pinned her with his knees “then put a knife to her throat and told her he would kill her.”

Sweetland was arrested the next day at Telegraph and Nevada streets. He remains free on a $100,000 bail.

Contact F.T. Norton at 881-1213 or