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New charge filed against former foster-care worker

A former foster-care worker will face a third charge of open and gross lewdness in a sexual assault case referred to Clark County District Court by a Boulder City justice of the peace on Tuesday.

Aldrin West, 42, faced one count for open or gross lewdness over allegations of masturbating in front of former child specialist Jodi Lynn Fennell while working at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, and a second count of open or gross lewdness because he is alleged to have touched Fennell’s breast, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint will be amended to add a third count of open or gross lewdness in a separate incident where West is alleged to have masturbated in front of Fennell.

Justice of the Peace Victor Miller found there was probable cause to send West’s case to District Court, where he is scheduled to appear July 31.

West, who also uses the name Adrian, plans to plead not guilty, and a trial date then will be set, R. Roger Hillman, an attorney with the Clark County public defender’s office, said.

“He denies everything,” Hillman said.

Binu Palal, deputy district attorney with the Clark County district attorney’s office, said West has not yet posted bail, which is $4,000.

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children is a county-licensed therapeutic foster care agency, and all employees must remain in good standing with the Clark County Department of Family Services.

Fennell said prior to her case, Family Services investigated reports of inappropriate behavior made by two teenage girls involving West. After investigating the reports, the agency assigned West to attend “boundaries classes” and cleared him to return to work.

Family Services wouldn’t say whether West had been investigated in the past, but Fennell provided copies of two audiotapes she made with the permission of Family Services investigator Teresa Cragon, who was assigned to investigate her case earlier this year. During one of the interviews, Cragon is heard confirming a prior investigation but tells Fennell she had no part in that investigation.

Contact Yesenia Amaro at yamaro@reviewjoournal.com or 702-383-0440. Find her on Twitter: @YeseniaAmaro.

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