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Judge sets $50K bail in ex-police officer’s child sex case

Updated February 28, 2020 - 10:58 am

A judge set bail at $50,000 on Friday for a former Las Vegas police officer facing child sex charges.

Christopher Peto, 47, was arrested last month on charges of engaging in sex acts for the past two years with at least two girls in the Laughlin area.

Peto, who started with the Metropolitan Police Department in 1999, was relieved of duty without pay after his arrest, according to Metro officials.

Should Peto post bail, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini ordered, he would be under house arrest and prohibited from having contact with any victims, witnesses or minors.

“At the very least, you put yourself in a situation that you’re never going to get your reputation back,” the judge said.

The case was moved to Las Vegas from Laughlin after a prosecutor and Peto’s defense attorney filed court papers stating that Laughlin Justice of the Peace Tim Atkins should not hear the case. They said Atkins and Peto had a personal relationship that included regularly playing golf together.

Peto, who has been in custody since his arrest, faces charges of lewdness with a child who is 14 or 15 by a person 18 or older, child abuse or neglect, first-degree kidnapping, soliciting a child for prostitution and lewdness with a child under 16.

Detectives, who spoke to a dozen girls, reported that Peto “encountered these girls at the Laughlin Jr./Sr. High School and during calls for service.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Luzaich told the judge that “there was a lot of grooming type behavior.”

“But all of the girls have said, ‘We’re afraid. We don’t want to talk about it. We’re afraid because of who he is, what he does, and who he knows,’” the prosecutor said.

Defense attorney Josh Tomsheck wrote in court papers that Peto has lived in Southern Nevada for 20 years and spent the last seven years in Laughlin as a “resident officer.”

Eleven of Peto’s family members and friends wrote letters to support him, and his lawyer said Peto would live with his parents in Laughlin if he is released on bail.

“There are numerous defenses available to Christopher in this matter,” Tomsheck wrote. “Moreover, Christopher wants nothing more than to address this matter through the court process.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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