Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2018

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Federal charges dropped against child molester Chester Stiles


Justin M. Bowen

Convicted child molester Chester A. Stiles talks to one of his attorneys May 29 just before he was sentenced to life in prison on 21 of 22 charges.

Chester A. Stiles sentenced

Convicted child molester Chester A. Stiles talks to one of his attorneys May 29 just before he was sentenced to life in prison on 21 of 22 charges. Launch slideshow »

Chester Stiles, who in May was sentenced to a minimum of 140 years in a Nevada prison on child molestation convictions, won't be getting his day in federal court.

Stiles, 38, was facing federal child pornography charges in connection with a haunting videotape that shows the molestation of a 2-year-old girl, found in the desert near Pahrump in 2007. Those charges were dismissed after prosecutors filed a motion that said the state's prosecution had "vindicated the substantial federal interest."

Stiles’ federal trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

Stiles is serving life prison terms on 21 of 22 counts of lewdness and sexual assault and the soonest he could appear before a parole board is 2149. The federal charges could have tacked an additional 15 to 30 years onto that sentence.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan approved the prosecutors' motion to dismiss the charges without prejudice on Friday. According to the document, prosecutors can re-file charges if Stiles' state conviction or sentence "changes significantly."

Stiles was convicted March 3 on 10 counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14, 11 counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, and one count of attempted sexual assault with a minor under 14 for sexually molesting two girls, ages 2 and 6, in 2003. Nineteen charges were tied directly to what was seen in the tape. The other three charges pertained to the assault of the 6-year-old girl, who wasn't taped.

Stiles is serving his sentence at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs.

The case gained national attention in 2007 when authorities released images from the videotape in an effort to identify both the man and the toddler and a national manhunt ensued.

A Las Vegas woman recognized the girl and alerted the girl’s mother, who then contacted police. Stiles was later arrested during a routine traffic stop in Henderson.

The man who discovered the tape, 26-year-old Darren Tuck, told authorities he found it wrapped in a plastic bag beneath a piece of wood in a desert lot about five months before he turned it in.

The girl who was 6 at the time of her assault testified during Stiles' trial. The videotaped toddler's mother testified that her daughter has no memory of the assault.

Stiles’ attorneys are pursuing an appeal.

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