Teacher’s preliminary hearing delayed; victim hospitalized

A preliminary hearing was delayed for the 45-year-old kindergarten teacher charged with kidnapping a 16-year-old girl because the girl was committed to Monte Vista hospital, which specializes in psychiatric care.

Prosecutors filed the motion to postpone the hearing under seal.

Melvyn Sprowson, a teacher at Wengert Elementary School, near Sahara Avenue and Nellis Boulevard, was charged with first-degree kidnapping after the girl, who was reported missing to Henderson police on Aug. 29, was found living in his home.

Judge William Kephart will decide following the preliminary hearing whether prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to trial.

On Thursday, defense lawyer John Momot objected to the motion to postpone the hearing because it did not include a note from a doctor treating the girl. Instead, a note was included about the girl’s hospitalization from the girl’s mother, Momot said.

Momot noted the girl and her mother don’t have a good relationship. The girl had previously told police she was “fed up with living with her mom,” which is why she went to live with Sprowson, according to court records.

Momot asked Kephart to lower Sprowson’s bail to a “reasonable” amount considering the delay. Kephart declined and Sprowson remains held on $530,000 bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

A new preliminary hearing date was set for Dec. 9.

According to Sprowson’s arrest report, he and the girl had been dating, said “I love you” and slept in the same bed.

He and the 16-year-old had been living together for two months when Clark County School District police officers knocked on his door and she answered.

She told officers she was unhappy living at home and searched for a roommate on Craigslist, where Sprowson had placed an ad, according to the report.

The two began exchanging text messages and developed a relationship. Sprowson picked the girl up from her parents’ house without their consent and took her to his home, the report said.

The girl said she stopped going to school because she was afraid she’d be taken back home. Sprowson and the girl also discussed her getting emancipated, the report said.

Sprowson initially told police he had never met the girl in person and that the two only communicated through messages. Sprowson also told police he had no knowledge of the girl’s whereabouts, but admitted to wiring her $150 in the past.

Sprowson faces three other charges, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child abuse and obstructing an officer.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review or 702-380-1039.

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