Relatives of victims in two different sex crimes cases wonder why it’s taking so long to prosecute the suspects. And they question why the alleged offenders aren’t in jail while awaiting trial.
However, an official from the district attorney’s office said it takes time to investigate such cases as they go through the judicial process.
A 34-year-old man faces 12 counts each of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and sexual contact of a minor. A 55-year-old man is charged with three counts of criminal sexual contact and two counts of bribery or intimidation of a witness. Both suspects are from the Las Vegas area.
The 34-year-old man’s case has languished in the court system for two years, relatives of the victim said.
“I wish I knew why it’s taken so long. The case keeps getting continued,” said one of the relatives.
At the beginning of the year, a trial was scheduled to be held. But shortly before, prosecutors discovered that two of five tapes of the preliminary hearing, which contained critical witness testimony, were blank.
The victim in the 34-year-old’s case suffered from the crimes as early as 5 years old and told others about it when she was 10, relatives said. She’s now 13.
The 34-year-old had an ankle monitor, which tracks his location. But after a time, he was no longer required to wear it.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Orlando Torres, who is handling both sex crimes cases, said the blank tapes prompted the decision to send the case back to Magistrate Court for another preliminary hearing.
He said the tapes were the result of some type of clerical error or malfunction.
“I don’t know how it happened,” he said.
As for the ankle bracelet, Torres said it was an “expensive proposition” for the 34-year-old man. Suspects are required to cover the costs of bracelets, he said.
“His parents were having to foot the bill. The court decided it wasn’t necessary in this particular case,” Torres said, adding that the 34-year-old man’s release was under strict conditions.
Torres explained the reasons behind the releases of the two sex crimes suspects.
“There is no knowledge that there are any other victims. Both children are in the care of their mothers. They (alleged offenders) don’t have access,” Torres said. “It’s not a matter of being lenient. It’s evaluating each case on its merits.”
He said other delays in the 34-year-old’s case were because of changes in prosecutors and judges.
Since the case was originally filed, Torres said he has amended it to add more counts against the 34-year-old.
A relative of the victim in the 55-year-old’s case said she is upset that the district attorney’s office hasn’t been keeping her properly notified about developments. The alleged crimes started when the victim was 8.
The relative said the case has been in limbo for a year. She said delays continue to happen, even so the defense attorney could take his child to a doctor’s appointment.
She said she is upset the 55-year-old is not in jail, saying his crime is serious enough to warrant his incarceration.
Torres said the state police’s gathering of evidence has taken some time and that there have been other delays.
“We’re not the only actor in these proceedings,” he said.
In both cases, Torres said he sees nothing out of the ordinary as far as how long they’ve taken.