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Not Guilty Plea in Nev. Sex Tape Case

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2008/01/10 16:55

A man accused of raping a little girl after a videotape of the child being assaulted was found in the Nevada desert pleaded not guilty Wednesday, and a judge set a trial date for April.

Chester Arthur Stiles, 37, stood next to his appointed lawyers and stared at the floor, saying little during his four-minute arraignment in Clark County District Court.

Stiles is accused of sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl in September 2003, and a 6-year-old girl that December. Authorities say the videotape is of the first attack.

Stiles faces 22 felony charges including lewdness with a child under 14, sexual assault with a child under 14 and attempted sexual assault with a child under 14. If convicted, he could face multiple life terms in prison.

The judge set trial for April 14. Stiles was returned to jail, where he has been held since his Oct. 15 arrest in what authorities have called protective isolation. Stiles' lawyer Jeff Banks said he intends to seek bail.

Stiles became the object of a nationwide manhunt after a Nye County man turned the videotape over to sheriff's investigators in Pahrump, a town some 60 miles west of Las Vegas. Authorities released images from the tape and pleaded for public help to find the girl and her alleged attacker.

The girl was found safe with her mother in Las Vegas on Sept. 28. Stiles was arrested after police in the suburb of Henderson stopped him driving a car with no license plates.

The man who turned the tape over, 27-year-old Darrin Tuck, remained jailed Wednesday in Pahrump on a probation violation. Tuck said he found the tape in the desert, and his lawyer has said Tuck had no involvement with Stiles.

Tuck has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of possession of child pornography, which carries a possible penalty of one to six years in state prison. No trial date has been set.


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