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Commission bans sex-crimes trafficker from Nevada’s casinos — a first

Updated August 25, 2022 - 6:50 pm

The Nevada Gaming Commission has banned a Las Vegas man from ever entering a Nevada casino because of his history of assaulting women and forcing women into prostitution at Strip resorts.

In a unanimous vote taken Thursday, commissioners placed Kendrick Laronte Weatherspoon on the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s List of Excluded Persons — the state’s so-called “Black Book.”

Weatherspoon became the 36th person placed on the list, following a 90-minute hearing. He was notified of the hearing, but neither he nor a representative for him appeared before the commission to challenge the findings that led to the decision.

Deputy Attorney General Michael Somps said Weatherspoon satisfied two criteria for inclusion on the list: that he has a prior felony conviction in Nevada and that he “has a notorious or unsavory reputation that would adversely affect public confidence and trust that the gaming industry is free from criminal or corrupt developments.”

Weatherspoon was the first person included on the list that did not have a history of cheating at gambling or involvement in organized crime.

Weatherspoon has 30 cases in Las Vegas Justice Court from 2000 through 2021. His criminal history in Clark County District Court began in 1996 when he pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge.

Five of the Las Vegas cases involved cocaine sales. He was charged with four misdemeanor impaired-driving charges in 2014 and his first violent charge, of domestic battery, was brought to court in 2013.

In June 2021, he was charged with sex trafficking of an adult, battery by strangulation, sex assault, kidnapping and burglary. A woman told police that she met Weatherspoon at Casino Royale and he offered to “basically be your pimp” by helping her make money as a sex worker, according to the arrest report.

She tried to stop being a sex worker by running away after Weatherspoon dropped her at The Venetian. But he later showed up at her apartment and grabbed her by the throat and choked her before raping her, she told police.

Weatherspoon pleaded guilty to coercion and was sentenced to probation.

In 2019, he was charged with sex trafficking of an adult, domestic battery and accepting the earnings of a prostitute. The case was closed after he completed six months of domestic violence counseling and community service.

Witness testimony

Somps outlined Weatherspoon’s criminal past and three other witnesses provided testimony: Todd Fasulo, vice president of security, corporate investigations and crisis management at Wynn Las Vegas; Capt. Fred Haas, who leads Metro’s gang and vice division; and James Taylor, the Gaming Control Board’s chief of enforcement.

Commissioners debated whether it was appropriate to single out Weatherspoon for inclusion because there are hundreds of other criminals with lengthy rap sheets and a history of violence. But they ultimately decided to designate him to the list because he was using Las Vegas casinos as a basis of operations for prostitution.

Commissioners set out to make an example of Weatherspoon in hopes that it would deter others with a record of violent behavior.

Black Book designees, when flagged by casino personnel, can be arrested and jailed for a high misdemeanor.

“I’m not advocating that every single person that engages in this behavior be put in the Black Book,” Fasulo said during the hearing. “I only advocate for those who continually show a history of violence and they perpetrate their crimes through the casino industry.”

Commissioner Steven Cohen said he felt it was time for something to be done about human trafficking.

“This is a horrible, horrible record,” Cohen said. “It’s a horrible blight for the state of Nevada and something has to be done. We need help from the courts, Metro and the resorts.”

Regulators said they expect other criminals with a record of violence likely would be nominated to the list in the years ahead. But Taylor said one of the purposes of the Black Book is to point out “the worst of the worst” that will be recognizable to the public.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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