A former North Las Vegas police officer who tried to gain sexual favors, including oral sex, from women he cited for traffic violations was sentenced to three years of probation Tuesday.
James Vernon Clayton in December pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted misconduct by a police officer and two counts of oppression under color of office, all gross misdemeanors.
Clayton apologized for his actions and called his situation "a nightmare."
"I'm sorry for this. It's my fault. I don't blame anybody else," he said. Clayton, who sought to avoid a jail sentence, went on to "beg for mercy" from the court.
District Judge James Bixler ordered Clayton to spend the first six months of probation under house arrest and pay a $5,000 fine. Bixler added that Clayton deserved to spend time in jail for betraying "the faith and trust" the victims had in police officers.
Bixler also told Clayton if he violated the terms of probation, which included finding a job or doing community service and undergoing counseling, that Clayton would spend five years in jail.
Clayton's attorney, Thomas Beatty, argued that Clayton is an ideal candidate for probation because he has accepted responsibility for his crime, understands what he did was wrong and is remorseful.
Clayton didn't deserve jail time and had suffered enough from losing the job he loved and from the public humiliation, Beatty said. He added that Clayton's son was harassed at school because of the case and that Clayton himself has been confronted by members of the public.
Three of the victims were scheduled to speak at the hearing Tuesday but did not show up, prosecutors said.
Authorities have said there were at least five victims.
One victim alleged that, over the course of a few weeks, Clayton pulled her over twice, ran into her at a mall and went to the strip club where she worked and requested a lap dance from her.
Other victims said he would call, send text messages or show up at their home and work. Another victim said Clayton exposed himself to her.
The former police officer was arrested more than a year ago after a five-month investigation and originally was charged with seven felonies of police misconduct and misdemeanor lewdness.
Clayton was a three-year veteran of the department when he was charged. He was fired in January 2009.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.