Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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Sexual assault added to bribery charges

The former district attorney's office investigator charged with bribery has also been charged with sexual assault, according to court documents filed by the state attorney general's office on Thursday.

The amended complaint against Pete Baldonado was filed during a hearing Thursday in Henderson Justice Court. A preliminary hearing on the matter was scheduled for April 1.

Baldonado now faces a count of sexual assault and a count of misconduct by a public officer. He already faced a charge of receiving a bribe by a public officer or employee. That charge alleges he received sex for official favors.

In the new criminal complaint, prosecutors allege that the sexual assault occurred on Nov. 28. The other charges are alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1 and Jan. 24.

"The sexual assault charge was added as the result of an independent investigation," Senior Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen said.

Hafen declined to comment further.

If convicted, Baldonado faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

Baldonado was a veteran investigative field officer who has worked on some high-profile cases in the major violator's unit. He resigned from his position upon his arrest in February and was released from custody on a $3,000 bond.

The attorney general's office took over the case because of the district attorney's conflict of interest.

Hafen said the additional charges show that "any individual who breaks the law, no matter who they are or what status they hold, will be held accountable."

The announcement came during Baldonado's arraignment on Thursday before Justice of the Peace Rodney Burr. Baldonado did not appear in court. His lawyer, Bill Terry, appeared on his behalf.

Baldonado's arrest came after a joint investigation by Roger and the FBI revealed that Baldonado made an agreement with an informant to quash her bench warrants in exchange for sex.

Hafen said the alleged victim in the sexual assault charge is a different person from the informant who sparked the bribery and misconduct charges.

Terry said he planned to file a motion asking the judge to dismiss the bribery and the misconduct charges because the informant was not named in the complaint and she is only referred to as a "confidential witness."

The alleged sexual assault victim is named in the complaint.

"It's a little difficult for me to do discovery when I have not been advised of who this confidential informant is," Terry said.

Hafen said it was still unclear whether prosecutors would have to name the informant in court. He said he would do legal research to determine whether her identity would remain confidential.

"At some point that person is going to have to testify," Hafen said. But right now, "we're talking about pre-preliminary hearing."

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