Suspect In Young Girl's Videotaped Sexual Assault Arraigned
Wednesday, October 17th 2007, 7:24 am
By: News On 6
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ The man accused of abusing a 3-year-old girl in an explicit sex videotape was arraigned Wednesday on 23 felony charges that could land him in prison for life.
Chester Arthur Stiles, 37, did not enter pleas during the two-minute hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.
He waived a reading of the charges and spoke briefly to confirm that he could not afford a lawyer. The charges include 10 counts of lewdness with a child under 14, 11 counts of sexual assault of a child under 14, and one count each of attempted sexual assault with a minor under 14 and use of a minor in producing pornography. Three charges date back to the alleged molestation of a 6-year-old girl in December 2003.
Stiles was arrested Monday during a traffic stop in Henderson, southeast of Las Vegas. He had been the subject of a massive manhunt after authorities released images of him from the video.
Stiles stood wearing blue jail scrubs, his eyes downcast and with unkempt hair over his forehead. He was surrounded by six armed and uniformed court officers.
His fists shackled at his side to a chain belt, Stiles said ``No ma'am,'' when asked if he could afford a lawyer.
Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis appointed Deputy Public Defender Jeff Banks to represent Stiles.
Outside court, Banks characterized Stiles as ``down in the mouth'' but said he expected he would fight the charges at future hearings.
``Of course he's going to plead not guilty,'' Banks told reporters.
Court administrator Chuck Short said Stiles had received death threats, so security was tightened for Stiles and his lawyer.
No bail was set, but Banks said he might seek bail later.
Stiles faces multiple terms of life in prison if convicted.
The U.S. attorney has also unsealed a grand jury indictment of a federal charge of producing child pornography, which could carry a sentence of 15 to 30 years in federal prison. Officials said Stiles will be tried on state charges first.
In the video, Stiles is shown committing a variety of sexual acts on the young girl while addressing her by name and repositioning the camera himself, according to a police report.
The girl's mother chose not to watch the video, but told police that she recognized striped sheets, her daughter's favorite leopard-print dress at the time and the knob-less wooden armoire in an apartment they moved from before the girl's third birthday in September 2003.
``She removed the knobs because (the girl) would put them in her mouth,'' the report states.
On Tuesday, the mother's lawyer, Jerry Donohue, said the girl, now a 7-year-old second-grader, ``clearly has no memory of any molestation, which is good.'' But he said she has been interviewed by medical professionals and police, and ``she knows something's going on around her.''
The girl assaulted in the video was found safe Sept. 28 with her mother in Las Vegas after sheriff's detectives in neighboring Nye County circulated her photo to the media and asked for help finding her.
Police are still searching for other possible victims and accomplices.
The man who turned in the videotape, Darrin Tuck, 26, remains in custody after appearing Monday in a Pahrump court on a probation violation charge. He is due to appear next Monday on a felony pornography possession charge, his lawyer said.
Tuck told Nye County sheriff's investigators he found the tape beneath a fallen sign in the desert. Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo alleged that Tuck kept the video for several months and showed it to other people before turning it over to detectives.
``We're hoping that Stiles cooperates with police and this will illuminate what we've been saying from the beginning,'' said Tuck's lawyer, Chris Rasmussen. ``Mr. Tuck had no involvement with Mr. Stiles.''