Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof accused of sexual assault, won’t face charges

Updated April 19, 2018 - 8:56 pm

Two former prostitutes allege that brothel owner and Nevada Assembly candidate Dennis Hof sexually assaulted them several years ago, according to a newly released police report and interviews with the women.

The police report was released after the Nye County district attorney’s office last month declined to prosecute Hof, 71, because the statute of limitations had expired.

Hof, a Republican running for Assembly District 36 in Pahrump, denies the claims.

“It’s this sort of muckraking in the political cesspool that keeps so many good people from running for office,” he said. “But it won’t deter me.”

Jennifer O’Kane, 47, who worked as a prostitute at Hof’s Love Ranch in Crystal in 2011, said she received orders from “Madam Diane” — a manager — to go to her room one evening during her first week on the job.

When she entered the room, O’Kane told the Review-Journal, Hof was there.

“He asked me to undress and sit next to him,” said O’Kane, who now lives in Texas and works in customer service. “At that point he put his hands around my neck and explained to me that I was his.”

Hof forced her to have sex that night, she said. O’Kane said she was “raped and battered daily” by Hof, according to a report filed Nov. 15, 2016, with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.

Commission meeting

O’Kane said she reported the incident to Nye County authorities in 2011, but was not given an incident number or any paperwork. No record of the 2011 complaint was found, according to Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello. Five years later, as Hof faced off with Assemblyman James Oscarson in his first run for state office, a tearful O’Kane went to a Nye County Commission meeting on Oct. 18, 2016, to ask for help.

But before O’Kane could tell the commissioners about Hof, she was cut off by Commission Chairman Frank Carbone, who told her, “I know where you’re going” with the public comment. Carbone told her to “sit and relax” and return when she gained her composure. Before that happened, Sheriff Sharon Wehrly took O’Kane to a private room to fill out a sheriff’s report.

O’Kane, who said she had privately told Carbone about the rape allegations, did not return to comment before the commission.

“Jennifer stated she was forced to have sex with Hof against her will,” Detective James Brainard wrote in the report. “She claimed she complained to management, but was blown off.”

But Brainard noted there was no evidence to support the rape allegations and closed the case. It was reopened a year later after he interviewed more women. Brainard forwarded the case to the Nye County district attorney’s office on Dec. 4, 2017, but by then the four-year statute of limitations had expired. The district attorney’s office last month issued a denial letter.

O’Kane said her claims were brushed off because she was a prostitute and because Hof’s brothels generate a lot of tax revenue for the county.

Bello said the notion that her office refused to prosecute someone for political reasons is “completely unjustified.”

“We had no choice but to deny it. The statute of limitations had ended,” Bello said. “We don’t prosecute or not prosecute based on fear or favor.”

After the 2011 complaint went nowhere, O’Kane said she couldn’t file another police report because Hof in 2011 had moved her to another brothel in Mound House — 360 miles away. But she worked as an advocate and posted about her assault online.

Hof said O’Kane “is a disgruntled former sex worker who was also a competitor of mine before she lost her own brothel.” O’Kane owned her own brothel, the Calico Club, where she openly spoke of a culture of taking drugs from men at Hof’s Love Ranch in the wake of former NBA basketball star Lamar Odom overdosing there in 2015.

Barb Brents, a UNLV sociology professor who’s studied Nevada brothels for 20 years, said women in the sex industry face additional challenges in reporting assault and rape because of stigma. And authorities often don’t believe them.

“I think there’s a belief that women are selling their bodies to men so they have the right to do whatever they want to,” Bents said. “But they’re selling a service and they have a right to be safe while providing that service.”

Second accuser interviewed

Diana Grandmaison, who worked at the Bunny Ranch in Carson City under the stage name “Diana Foxx,” also was interviewed by Brainard, the Nye County detective. Grandmaison told the Review-Journal that in June 2009 Hof summoned her to the brothel’s bar, reached under her skirt and assaulted her in public.

Grandmaison did not report the incident to police because she was afraid of losing her job. She told Brainard that Hof was “not a nice person,” that he would “regularly assault” women and that she was forced to “perform acts to Dennis,” according to the report.

“He did this to girls at the brothel all the time. He would make young girls sit on his lap,” Grandmaison said in a phone interview. “I had no choice — you couldn’t say no. If you said no, you were going to pay a price and get kicked out of the brothel.”

Hof maintains his accusers are attempting to “try me in the media with their unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo” two months before the primary election against Oscarson.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

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Here's the surveillance of the hit-and-run crash in front of BWW, in which a woman repeatedly crashed into a manager's vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot. She walks in, asks how long the wait is, then storms off after being told of the 10-minute wait time. Footage courtesy of manager Daniel Rees.
Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jury finds former corrections officers not guilty on all counts
Paul Valdez and Jose Navarrete, two former Nevada Department of Corrections officers accused of using unnecessary force on an inmate were both found not guilty on all charges after a jury deliberated less than 2 hours.
Henderson Constable appears in court
Earl Mitchell, the Henderson Constable indicted on four counts of theft and one count of fraudulent appropriation of property, appeared in court Thursday.
Former FBI agent recalls tragic case 20 years later
Timothy Blackburn robbed a Bank of America depository in December 1998 for more than $1 million — the largest bank robbery in Nevada’s history. After eluding authorities initially, Blackburn was caught and jailed at the North Las Vegas Detention Center. In August 1999, he escaped, guns blazing, with his wife’s help, and disappeared for weeks only to be found at an apartment near Boulder Highway. Former FBI Agent Henry Schlumpf, the lead on the case, remembers vividly the hostage situation that would end tragically. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer Shoots Suspect in Nye County - Bodycam
A Nye County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man Thursday night. Jason Paul O’Bannon, 46, died after the altercation with police. Reports of a man firing a weapon outside his house brought police to the scene just after 8 p.m. Detective Wesley Fancher fired the shot that killed O’Bannon, police said. O’Bannon had a “lengthy criminal history” in California and Nevada dating to 1988, according to police
Nye County sheriff news conference on officer-involved shooting
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly details the police response as officers came under fire Thursday when a man was shooting a rifle in his yard. When the man pointed a weapon at an officer, police opened fire. The man died.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
The Mob Museum
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Man shot, killed by Las Vegas police after traffic stop
Las Vegas police give a briefing after a man was shot and killed by an officer following a traffic stop. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video of suspect in Home Depot parking lot shooting
A man who was injured in a Nov. 20 shooting in the southwest Las Vegas Valley died at a hospital Tuesday, the Clark County coroner’s office said.
Nevada Task Force 1 Dog Units Return
Four dogs and their handlers returned to the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, November 29, 2018, after deploying to the Paradise, California wildfire last week. The dogs, trained in human remains detection, are part of Nevada Task Force 1, a Federal Emergency Management Agency urban search and rescue team. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police thwart brazen kidnapping attempt
Metro officers suspicious of woman claiming to be with Child Protective Services prevent possible kidnapping of three-week-old infant.
Shot Spotter technology used by Metro extended for another year
Gunfire location technology being used by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department gets extended for another year of evaluation.
Nye County pursuit ends in rollover crash caught by dashcam
A truck flipped twice before landing on its wheels as a driver tried to flee Nye County Sheriff's deputies on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Nevada Highway Patrol stops wrong-way driver on Thanksgiving
The Nevada Highway Patrol has released dashboard and body camera video showing troopers deploying spike strips to stop a suspected impaired wrong-way driver early Thanksgiving Day. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
DUI sentencing
The parents of 8-year-old Levi Echenique speak after a woman who drove under the influence of marijuana and killed the boy was sent to prison.
3 Pahrump residents arrested on false imprisonment charges
James Thatcher, 28 of Pahrump, Chelsea Demille, 30 of Pahrump, and Sandra Wombles, 19 of Pahrump were all arrested after it was discovered that they were holding an adult female and male prisoners in their bedroom. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
2 kids struck by gunfire in North Las Vegas shooting
On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, people opened fire into a residence in the 3600 block of Hamlin Place in North Las Vegas. Two kids were hit by gunfire and sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to North Las Vegas police. Anyone with information is asked to call the NLVPD at 702-633-9111.
Stephan Bonnar DUI Arrest
Stephan Bonnar arrested for DUI in Nevada.
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