A former Las Vegas kindergarten teacher pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges related to living with a teenage girl for nine weeks last year.
Defense lawyer John Momot also invoked Melvyn Sprowson’s right to a speedy trial, which was set for March 24.
Sprowson, 45, faces one count of first-degree kidnapping, child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial mental harm, and four counts of unlawful use of a minor in the production of pornography. He could face five life prison terms if he’s convicted.
During a hearing in December, the teenager tearfully declared her love for Sprowson during two hours of testimony, when she said she willingly went to live with him. She also said she willingly sent him photographs of herself in various stages of undress at his request.
The teenager met Sprowson, who taught at Wengert Elementary School, after she responded to a Craigslist.com advertisement he had placed.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal typically does not publish the names of sexual assault victims or minors involved in sex crimes.
After the girl was discovered on Nov. 1 and returned home, she tried to jump from the second floor of her mother’s home to escape.
The girl has been in and out of mental health institutions since, and now is living at a long-term treatment facility outside Las Vegas.
The girl has had two other relationships with older men before.
One of the men, David Schlomann, 41, is awaiting a Thursday sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault and luring children with use of technology with intent to engage in sexual conduct.
Sprowson has faced accusations involving sexual abuse of minors in the past. He resigned under pressure from the Los Angeles Unified School District after allegations of sexual abuse involving fourth- and fifth-grade students. He was investigated but never faced criminal charges.
The defendant is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in lieu of $650,000 bail.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.