Former police officer pleads guilty in molestation case

A former Las Vegas police officer on Monday pleaded guilty to felony charges relating to his molesting a 13-year-old girl three years ago.

Damian Amalfitano, 35, entered an Alford plea for one count of attempted lewdness with a child under 14 years of age and possession of child pornography. The Alford plea means Amalfitano didn't admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors could prove their case against him.

According to an arrest report, Amalfitano was dating the victim's aunt when in April 2007 he molested the 13-year-old on three occasions -- twice in the home he shared with another couple and once at the victim's grandmother's house. Amalfitano was off duty at the time.

During a search, investigators also found images of child pornography on his computer that were not of the victim, according to the report.

The two felony charges are probational offenses. He faces a maximum of 26 years in prison.

As part of the plea, prosecutors will not argue at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Aug. 23 before District Judge Elissa Cadish. Prosecutors also agreed not to refer the case to federal prosecutors who were interested in the case.

Amalfitano, who was a six-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department at the time of his arrest, will have to register as a sex offender.

Amalfitano originally faced almost 30 felony counts, some with prison terms of 10 years to life in prison if convicted. His trial was set to begin next week.

Defense attorney Robert Draskovich said it was in his client's best interest to enter the Alford plea.

"He didn't want to face a much harsher penalty if we were to proceed to trial and he was convicted," Draskovich said. "He wanted to put this matter behind him and this is the first step in doing that."

Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Luzaich said the decision to negotiate a plea deal was not influenced by Amalfitano being a former police officer.