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Former Las Vegas teacher accused of kidnapping hit with child pornography charges

Clark County prosecutors slapped former Wengert Elementary School teacher Melvyn Sprowson with four new charges of unlawful use of a minor in production of pornography after authorities found images of a 16-year-old girl on her cell phone.

The images were recorded at Sprowson’s direction, prosecutors allege.

Sprowson already faced four charges — first-degree kidnapping, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child abuse and obstructing an officer — after he was found living with the girl last month.

If convicted he could face five life prison terms.

However, the victim’s past could become an issue in the case.

During a hearing Thursday before Judge William Kephart, Sprowson’s lawyers revealed this is not the first time the girl has been a victim in a similar criminal case.

Court records show that David Schlomann, 41, was arrested after an April 2012 tryst with the girl. He was originally charged with 14 counts, including first-degree kidnapping, statutory sexual seduction, sexual assault with a minor under 16 years of age and luring children with use of technology with intent to engage in sexual conduct.

In September, Schlomann took a deal and pleaded guilty to only two charges, attempted sexual assault and luring children with use of technology with intent to engage in sexual conduct. He is set to be sentenced Jan. 30.

Sprowson’s lawyer, John Momot, has said the victim has had an ongoing conflict with her mother that caused her to want to leave home.

Momot requested information about Schlomann to use in preparing Sprowson’s defense at a Dec. 30 preliminary hearing where prosecutors must show they have enough evidence to take the case to trial.

The girl is expected to testify and could be cross examined by Momot. Kephart said he would review the other case and determine if it is relevant.

In a 30-page discovery motion, Momot also asked for the victim’s medical records, including any medical tests. Prosecutors have suggested in court documents that Sprowson gave the girl a sexually transmitted disease. However, a doctor’s letter indicated that the victim may have had an STD prior to her time with Sprowson.

And Momot sought medical records pertaining to the mental competency of the victim. Following Sprowson’s arrest, the girl’s mother had her committed to Monte Vista hospital, which specializes in psychiatric care.

Court documents revealed that after being returned to her mother’s home, the girl threatened to harm herself and was committed for treatment, which is ongoing. The victim told her mother she loved Sprowson and wanted to marry him when she turns 18.

According to Sprowson’s arrest report, he and the girl had been dating, had said “I love you,” and had slept in the same bed.

He and the 16-year-old had been living together for two months when Clark County School District police officers knocked on his door and she answered. The victim was first reported missing to Henderson police on Aug. 29.

She told officers she was unhappy living at home and had searched for a roommate on Craigslist, where Sprowson placed an ad, according to the report.

The two began exchanging text messages and developed a relationship. Sprowson picked the girl up from her parents’ house without their consent and took her to his home, the report said.

The girl had previously told police she was “fed up with living with her mom,” which is why she went to live with Sprowson, according to court records.

The girl said she stopped going to school because she was afraid she’d be returned home. Sprowson and the girl also discussed her getting emancipated, the report said.

Sprowson initially told police he never met the girl in person and they only communicated through messages. Sprowson also told police he had no knowledge of the girl’s whereabouts, but admitted to wiring her $150 in the past.

While the girl willingly went to live with Sprowson, Nevada’s kidnapping law states a person is guilty if they kept a minor from her parents without their permission.

Sprowson has faced sex abuse accusations with minors before. He resigned under pressure from the Los Angeles Unified School District based on allegations of sexual abuse from 2007. Sprowson was investigated by police, but never criminally charged.

In its petition to revoke Sprowson’s teaching license, the Los Angeles district submitted statements from a half-dozen of Sprowson’s female fourth and fifth-grade students claiming sexual abuse.

One student claimed Sprowson forced her hands down his pants, beneath his underwear. Three girls said he asked them if they had their period.

Momot has said California prosecutors didn’t file charges against Sprowson because the witness statements were inconsistent and contradictory.

Sprowson remains in Clark County Detention Center on $650,000 bail.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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