Published Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 | 8 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 | 8:28 a.m.
A kindergarten teacher accused of kidnapping a 16-year-old girl was living with the teen and sleeping in the same bed, prosecutors alleged today as a judge set bail at $530,000.
Melvyn P. Sprowson, 44, a first-year kindergarten teacher at Wengert Elementary School, is charged with first-degree kidnapping, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, giving a false statement to police and child abuse or neglect. He made his first appearance today in Las Vegas Township Justice Court.
The 16-year-old found Nov. 1 in Sprowson’s apartment in the 4900 block of East Russell Road had been missing for more than two months.
Sprowson had told police he didn’t know where the girl was, but social media led Clark County School District Police and Henderson Police to the teacher’s apartment, authorities said. When they showed up, the missing teen answered the door, according to police.
Judge William Kephart said he set bail higher than the $56,000 requested by the prosecution because the defendant is a teacher.
“I know that there is a presumption of innocence here; I understand that. But the problem I’m having with this is the nature of his employment, his dishonesty with the police when they first talked to him,” Kephart said.
“What he is doing in our community, what his job is in our community, he has somewhat of a higher responsibility to our children, I think, than somebody who is not educated,” the judge said.
Kephart ordered Sprowson to have no contact with the victim, saying that if Sprowson accepts a visit from the teen in jail, he would consider that a violation.
Sprowson appeared in court via video conference. The judge appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Sprowson.
The girl was in good health, authorities said, and after being evaluated, she was reunited with her parents.
Although Sprowson isn’t accused of taking the girl by force, a person under the age of 18 must have a parent’s consent to go with another adult, according to Nevada law.
If convicted, Sprowson could spend the rest of his life in prison.
A preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 21.