weather icon Clear

Las Vegas police officer guilty of sexually abusing child

A Las Vegas police officer was found guilty Thursday of sexually abusing a child for a decade.

When the verdict was read, Bret Theil, 39, remained stoic as his wife and son sobbed behind him. Theil was found guilty of 28 counts, including sexual assault, lewdness with a child, child abuse and kidnapping.

The jury found Theil not guilty of one count of resisting a public officer with a firearm in connection with a standoff with police near Corn Creek last February after he was indicted.

Theil was accused of sexually abusing a woman, now 21, from ages 8 to 19. She said that during the first sexual assault, Theil brought her to a friend’s house and took her into a downstairs bathroom. In subsequent assaults, she said, he tied her to a bench, blindfolded her and hit her with a whip.

After the indictment, Theil was suspended from the Metropolitan Police Department without pay pending the result of the trial.

Theil’s attorney, Craig Mueller, filed a motion for a mistrial last week, claiming 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, which Mueller said was”disturbing.”

After the verdict, Mueller said the trial was far from over. He plans to file another motion for a mistrial on the grounds that District Judge Stefany Miley did not allow Mueller to enter into evidence internet posts allegedly showing the victim’s “adulation” of the Church of Satan.

“She gets involved with some very disturbing posts on the internet,” Mueller said. “I was going to ask (the victim) about those on the witness stand, but the judge did not allow me to.”

In closing arguments this week, Mueller said the woman made up the allegations, characterizing her as a “mentally unstable” person who was too afraid to recant her accusations. He said she was trapped in a lie that went out of control.

Theil denied the allegations in his testimony last week and said he didn’t know why the woman made them. He fondly described time spent with the girl having tea parties and teaching her to shoot a gun.

Prosecutor Stacey Kollins said the woman had nothing to gain from making the allegations.

“There’s no pot of gold at the end of the sexual assault rainbow,” Kollins said in closing arguments Tuesday.

After the verdict, Kollins said she believed the jury made the right decision.

“The jury got it right, and they heard the victim’s voice,” she said.

Kollins argued that Theil was a flight risk because of the gravity of his convictions and his prior standoff. District Judge Eric Johnson, who filled in for Miley on Thursday, agreed, and Theil was remanded into custody.

Mueller argued that Theil, a lifelong Las Vegas resident, was already on house arrest and had not attempted to flee.

Theil is set to be sentenced April 3. He is being held without bail.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.