Friday, Jan. 7, 2011 | 10:22 a.m.
Twenty-plus people showed up in a Las Vegas courtroom Friday morning in support of local daycare worker Cameron Thomas, who police have charged with a series of alleged sexual abuse crimes involving children.
Also, Thomas's attorney, Joel Mann, told the judge "the media is causing mass hysteria," in the case and argued for Thomas to be released on his own recognizance.
After hearing from Mann and from the prosecutor, Judge Melanie Andress-Tobiasson said she wouldn't consider releasing Thomas on his own recognizance or on house arrest. She set bail for Thomas at $100,000 and set his preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Jan. 21.
Thomas, 27, who worked at two local daycare centers, Kids R Kids Day Care and Bright Child Learning Center, made his first appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court to face the multiple charges stemming from alleged incidents over the last six years.
Thomas was arrested Wednesday on warrants charging him with first-degree kidnapping, six counts of sexual assault of a victim under 14, three counts of lewdness with a minor and attempted lewdness with a minor under 14.
His arrest came after a joint investigation by Las Vegas and Phoenix police. Police said the alleged sexual assaults occurred in Arizona and Las Vegas, but the alleged victims live in Arizona.
Although the victims attended Kids R Kids Day Care, 2830 S. Cimarron Road, while Thomas worked there, the alleged assaults didn't happen at the center, police said.
Police said Thomas and the victims' family had known each other for five years outside of the day care facility because he was a friend of the victims' mother.
According to the warrant for Thomas' arrest, the alleged sexual abuse mostly occurred at his house when the girls, who are sisters, were visiting. The girls, however, were allegedly assaulted during separate incidents, the warrant states.
Thomas allegedly performed numerous sex acts on the victims starting when they were 5 to 6 years old, the police report states.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Thomas Carroll asked for a "substantial bail" because he said the alleged assaults happened over a six-year period of time and one of the charges, first-degree kidnapping, can be punished by a life sentence.
In arguing to release Thomas on his own recognizance, Mann said the daycare worker has lived in Clark County for more than 20 years.
"He has hundreds, many people in this courtroom, who support him," Mann said, directing those who were in support of Thomas to stand up. Almost all of the people on one side of the courtroom, about 21 people, stood up silently.
"All of these people who are in here supporting him have worked with him, lived with him and know him," Mann said. "All these people know his character and know that these allegations are completely false."
Mann said those present were with him and were watching him while the alleged violations happened, "and there had been nothing."
"We had letters in our O.R. motion from Kids R Kids that said 'We worked with him, we were with him on a constant basis. We never saw anything inappropriate, never heard anything inappropriate,'" Mann told the judge.
Mann told the judge "I know the media is causing mass hysteria on this case."
Mann said that was because police have asked the media to pass on the word to the public to contact investigators if they know of anything that happened while Thomas was employed at Kids R Kids or the other daycare center. Police have asked for parents or guardians of children who attended the day care centers who have concerns to contact Metro's special victims/sexual assault juvenile detail at (702) 828-3421.
"I ask your honor to look at this man's record. This man has nothing. Zero. He doesn't even have a parking ticket. Pre-child services was able to confirm that," Mann said.
Mann also said Thomas has substantial ties to the community: he has a wife and three children who live in Las Vegas and his mother, grandmother and cousins also live in the city.
"There's no reason why he would leave Las Vegas. There's no reason why he would be a danger to the community, considering that the alleged two victims live in Phoenix now and have no contact with him whatsoever," Mann said.
After the judge said she wouldn't consider an O.R. release or a house arrest because of the kidnapping charge, Mann asked her to consider a reasonable bail of $5,000.
Carroll asked that the bail also include having no contact with children.
Looking out at the supporters standing up for Thomas, Andress-Tobiasson told Mann "I don't know that it's the media that's causing mass hysteria. I think if Mr. Carroll had an opportunity, he could probably fill the other side of the courtroom with people who are on the other side of the fence with regard to this issue."
However, the judge said she appreciated that all of the people came to support Thomas.
Mann reminded her of the lengthy 1980s McMartin preschool sexual abuse case, which also received great media scrutiny and where all charges were eventually dropped.
Andress-Tobiasson said she was aware of that case but, "these are young children who have made these allegations and I have to take them seriously. I have to be concerned not only for the safety of those children, but for any other children that might come into contact with him at this point."
She set bail for the first-degree kidnapping charge at $25,000, set $10,000 bail for each of the six sexual abuse charges and $5,000 bail on each of the three lewdness charges, totaling $100,000.
"If he is able to post that bail, then there will be a condition that he be on house arrest and that he have no contact with any children, minor children, and quite frankly, I would say, including his own, unless there is a family court order that says otherwise," the judge said.
Mann told her there was a family court order that allows Thomas to see his own children.
Mann requested copies of video and audio interviews from prosecutors so he can prepare for the preliminary hearing.
After the hearing outside the courtroom, those in support of Thomas waived away reporters. Mann said those who attended were Thomas' family, friends and colleagues.