Probation officer charged with molesting women

A Carson City alternative sentencing officer will surrender next week after a criminal complaint filed Friday by the Nevada Attorney General's Office charged him with

22 counts related to allegations that he used his position to molest female probationers, an official said.

In the complaint filed in Carson City Justice Court, Aaron Lewis, 35, a peace officer with the city's Departm-ent of Alternative Sentencing, is accused of misconduct of a public officer and coercion using physical force, both felonies, and open or gross lewdness and oppression under color of office, both gross misdemeanors.

Allegations against Lewis came to light in September when a probationer and her mother reported Lewis forced her to show him her genitalia under threat of arrest.

The criminal complaint outlines five additional woman reported they were subjected to similar behaviors, including one woman who reported Lewis touched her genitals while he performed a sex act.

In each allegation, Lewis allegedly threatened to arrest the women, or told them they owed him if he kept their violations to himself. One victim was allegedly not even on alternative sentencing, but happened to be at a home where Lewis was looking for a probationer.

Alternative Sentencing Chief Rory Planeta said Lewis has been on paid administrative leave since the allegations were first surfaced in September.

Planeta said at that time he requested the Douglas County Sheriff's Office conduct an internal investigation, and he asked that the Attorney General's Office conduct a criminal investigation. The complaint filed Friday came as a result of the state's criminal investigation, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Lewis began working for the Department of Alternative Sentencing in April 2009. Previously he had worked at the Nevada Department of Corrections and as a Lyon County Sheriff's deputy.

Planeta said Lewis will remain on paid administrative leave until the internal investigation is complete. At that time, the findings will be sent to a review board which will then determine Lewis' fate at the department.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Ronda Clifton said Friday that arrangements were made between herself and Lewis' attorney Larry Digesti for Lewis to surrender to authorities next week and be released on his own recognizance. A court date has not yet been set.

In November, a civil lawsuit was filed against Lewis and Carson City, on behalf of Melissa Mulder, 20, the Carson City woman who first went to police with the allegations.

In the civil complaint, Mulder alleges that on Sept. 6, three days after she had been arrested for possession of heroin, Lewis picked her up from her home and took her to his office in the courthouse at 10:30 p.m.

Lewis allegedly told Mulder a urine test had determined she had used drugs "and if she told anyone what happened he would disclose that fact."

Lewis also allegedly demanded Mulder plead guilty to certain charges or he would inform the judge her drug test was "dirty."

The complaint goes on to allege that Lewis "made plaintiff expose her breasts and genitals to him," and "urinate in his presence."

In a second alleged incident, Lewis called Mulder at home and threatened to put her in jail if she did not come out to his car parked two blocks from her home.

Once she was in the car Lewis again subjected the woman to a more invasive examination of her breasts and genitals, the complaint alleges,

On Sept. 9, Mulder's mother reported the incident to police.

Mulder's attorney Jeffery Dickerson of Reno did not immediately return a call for comment.


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