Teen-party case turned over to AG’s office | NevadaAppeal.com

Teen-party case turned over to AG’s office

MICHAEL MARESH
Nevada Appeal News Service

Citing two conflicts of interests, Churchill County District Attorney Art Mallory submitted a case involving a teen party at a Fallon home to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

Police recently wrapped up their investigation of a Jan. 18 party that allegedly involved sexual assault and adults buying alcohol for teenagers.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and her staff will determine what, if any, charges will be filed for alleged sexual offenses and other alcohol-related incidences at the party.

Nicole Moon, public information officer for Cortez Masto’s office, confirmed the office had taken the case, but added the Churchill County Commission must pay its costs for doing so.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen will begin looking into the reports and documents next week.

Moon said Hafen will give a recommendation to Cortez Masto, who will decide whether to prosecute the case.

Mallory and three other law-yers on his staff, after reviewing the reports’ information, decided the case had to be in the hands of someone else. On Wednesday, Mallory met with Cortez Masto, and she agreed.

Mallory said it is rare when the DA’s office must ask the AG’s office for assistance due to potential conflicts. He added it happens about twice a year.

One of the conflicts involves the woman who rented the home where the alleged incidents took place. The tenant renting the home earlier this year no longer lives there.

The woman is a key witness in another trial starting on April 28. Bob Baker is charged with six counts of lewdness with a child. Mallory said he wanted to avoid the perception the woman was receiving a deal for testifying against Baker. He also did not want people thinking pressure was exerted on the woman to testify by charging her in the Jan. 18 incident.

“Although the case in which (the woman) is a witness is in no way related to the matter that is now being considered, the fact that (the woman) will be presented as a state’s witness, the state is now asked to make a decision whether the possible prosecution of (her) presents a potential conflict,” Mallory stated in a press release.

The second conflict of interest involves the adult son of a high-ranking official with the city with whom the district attorney’s office works on a weekly basis.

“Once again, it is the opinion of the attorneys in this office, as well as the advice of the assistant bar counsel for the state bar of Nevada and the attorney general of the state of Nevada, that at a very minimum the appearance of a conflict of interest would exist that should be avoided,” Mallory wrote.

The district attorney said he had heard rumors about the name of the boy’s father, but he could not make the decision on the conflict of interest until seeing the son’s name on the report.

“There were too many rumors about that,” Mallory said. “We had to get the hard copy of the report.”

The report also documents alleged offenses of juveniles at the party, Mallory said, adding their names will not be released, even if charges are filed.

He said the district attorney’s office did not come to any conclusions of findings on the case.

“All we did was read over the reports,” he said, adding the AG’s office will make those decisions. “The AG’s office can charge anyone they want to after reading the report,” Mallory said.

How quickly the findings of the three-month long case will be decided are unknown.

Mallory was told by Cortez Masto that “they would get right on it.”