Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hailey man charged with lewd conduct

Suspect allegedly caught in the act by Hailey police

Express Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Hailey man has been charged with felony sex crimes after a Hailey police officer allegedly caught the man in the act of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in the women's restroom at a public park in west Hailey.

Richard D. Nieves was formally charged Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court with two counts of lewd conduct with a minor child under 16. Judge R. Ted Israel advised the defendant that the crime is punishable in Idaho by up to life in prison.

The two charges accuse Nieves of having "genital to genital contact" and "manual to genital contact" with the girl on July 14. The sex acts allegedly occurred around 6 p.m. in the women's restroom at Lawrence Heagle City Park.

Hailey Lt. Steve England wrote in a probable cause affidavit filed in the case that he was in the park at that time looking for a suspect in another unrelated crime.

"Upon my arrival to Heagle Park, I could hear a male's voice coming from the women's restroom," England wrote. "As I walked closer to the restroom, I recognized that the male's voice sounded like Richard Nieves, who I know from previous contacts."

England wrote that he also heard a female's voice, entered the restroom and heard what sounded like "groping and kissing" from the locked bathroom stall.

"Hailey police, come out please," England wrote that he then said.

Nieves and the girl allegedly left the stall, but told England they had only been kissing. England called the girl's parents, and wrote that they called him later and told him the girl had confessed to having sexual intercourse with Nieves.

The girl was taken to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center for a sexual assault examination. England wrote that the girl confessed to having sexual intercourse with Nieves in subsequent interviews conducted by himself or Hailey police officer Shelly Pharis.

The girl "told me she felt pressured into having sex" and that the "sexual encounter with Nieves lasted 15-20 minutes," England wrote.

England further wrote that he went to Nieves' mother's home later that evening in order to interview Nieves but was told that the suspect "had grabbed some items for camping and said he would be back on the morning of July 15."

Based on the information he already had in the case, England obtained an arrest warrant and Nieves was subsequently arrested.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. on Aug. 19. Nieves is currently free on $50,000 bond.

"It should be noted that Nieves also has pending charges for domestic battery and a protection order violation in Ada County, and for two different minor consumption charges, and a battery charge and resisting/obstructing charge in Blaine County," England further wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

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