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Las Vegas officer denies sexually abusing child

A Metropolitan Police Department officer testified Friday in District Court, denying accusations that he sexually abused a child for over a decade.

Bret Theil, 39, said he became depressed after he was indicted last February.

“My whole world came crashing down on me,” Theil said. “Every safeguard in place to make sure an innocent person doesn’t get charged failed me.”

The officer, who is suspended without pay pending the result of his trial, is accused of sexually abusing the woman from ages 8 to 19. He faces charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, lewdness with a child and child abuse.

Theil insisted that the allegations were false. When his defense attorney, Craig Mueller, asked him if he did individual acts outlined in the complaint, he replied “no” to each one. He fondly described time he spent with the girl having tea parties and teaching her to shoot a gun.

During cross-examination, Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo asked Theil if he had ever locked her in his bedroom to talk to her. Theil said he had.

On Thursday, prosecutors revealed that Theil wrote a note during a standoff with police last February near Corn Creek. He faces one count of resisting a public officer with a firearm in connection with the standoff.

In the note, which was photographed by SWAT Sgt. Andrew Pennucci, Theil wrote that he was watching his “last sunset.” He also gave contact information for his family with instructions about what should be done with his truck and guns. He signed the note with his badge number.

“In God I trust,” Theil wrote. “In the court system I don’t.”

He mentioned taking pills in the note because he was afraid “it” would hurt. Pennucci said that when a medic asked Theil after the standoff if he had taken any medications, Theil replied that he had taken about 30 Xanax pills.

Theil said Friday that he didn’t take any medications and that he couldn’t remember writing the note or speaking to the medic. In body-camera footage shown in court, Theil stumbled and was slow to follow commands when SWAT officers took him into custody.

When DiGiacomo asked Theil if he was suicidal that night, Theil replied that he was “extremely depressed.”

Metro crisis negotiator Erik Morris said that the standoff only lasted about 20 minutes, but police and SWAT staged for hours because they were concerned about maneuvering their vehicles in the desert terrain.

Pennucci said he photographed the note and the interior of Theil’s truck, which contained two handguns and one shotgun, because his superiors told him that the truck would not be processed by crime scene analysts, which Pennucci thought was unusual.

Theil said the notebook in which he wrote the note contained details about the case. He said it went missing the morning that he was taken into custody near Corn Creek.

Mueller filed a motion for a mistrial Friday morning on the grounds that the investigation into the woman’s allegations was improperly handled and that the North Las Vegas detective who interviewed her formed an inappropriate relationship with her.

The woman said she met with Detective Carey McCloud at least six times at Starbucks after their initial interview. McCloud said that she met with the woman because she was “fragile” and that she wanted to check in on her.

McCloud also referred to Mueller as “Satan’s helper” on an official document. Mueller’s motion concluded that “Detective McCloud’s purposeful misconduct has tainted these entire proceedings…”

Later in the day, Theil spoke to a juror while Mueller, DiGiacomo and prosecutor Stacey Kollins conferred with District Judge Stefany Miley at the bench.

He asked the juror if she needed to ask the marshal a question, and the juror replied “no.”

When DiGiacomo asked Theil if he was aware that speaking to a juror was grounds for a mistrial, Theil replied that he was not.

Both sides will present closing arguments on Monday. The trial is expected to conclude on Tuesday.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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