State senator leaves message to rape victim’s sister
Associated Press Writer
CARSON CITY (AP) – A state senator says he wasn’t intending to bribe a rape victim’s sister when he left her a message suggesting it could be “financially beneficial” if she told the truth in a case that sent a friend of his to prison.
Republican Sen. Dennis Nolan acknowledged leaving the voicemail on the woman’s phone May 19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday. But he told the newspaper he was trying to coax her to meet with him so he could wear a “wire” and record what she said.
Gordon Lawes, 28, was convicted in 2008 of raping the girl four years earlier, when she was 16 years old. He was sentenced to life in prison with parole possible after 10 years. The case is under appeal.
Nolan said he believed the sister, who was Lawes’ wife at the time, would say the sex was consensual.
Nolan, 48, testified as a character witness for Lawes at his trial. Lawes had been a campaign volunteer for Nolan, and the two played club hockey together.
During the trial, a prosecutor said Lawes admitted to police that he walked naked down the stairs and had sex with the teen who was “passed out drunk,” according to published reports at the time.
Nolan, who on his website lists his occupation as a real estate agent and as a safety and loss prevention expert for public transit systems, did not immediately respond to phone or e-mail messages from The Associated Press.
The women’s father, Tim Anderson, has done radio ads supporting Nolan’s opponent in the June 8 Republican primary, Elizabeth Halseth.
“The deal is, he came out to defend a rapist who admitted to it, then tried to bribe her sister,” Anderson told the AP.
Anderson’s family gave a copy of the message to Halseth’s campaign, which released it on its website.
On the recording, a man who identifies himself as “Dennis” says a lot of people have a “serious interest” in the campaign. “I think that, um, it could be very financially beneficial, um, for you to consider telling the truth.”
It went on, “Give me a call a little later on and I will, uh, give you more details on it.” The caller says he got a call from some people who’d like to “see this thing cleared up and … have the resources to back that up.”
Nolan was first elected in 1994 to the Nevada Assembly, where he served until his election to the Senate in 2002.