Saudi airman guilty of sexual assault of 13-year-old at Circus Circus



Defendant Mazen Alotaibi listens to comments by Judge Stefany Miley during the jury selection process for his trial at the Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Oct. 11, 2013

Published Wed, Oct 23, 2013 (1:50 p.m.)

Updated Wed, Oct 23, 2013 (2:33 p.m.)

A Saudi air force sergeant has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy last New Year’s Eve in a Las Vegas Strip hotel.

Jurors in the Clark County District Court case found Mazen Alotaibi, 24, guilty of seven of the nine charges against him, including first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault with a minor.

The jury acquitted Alotaibi of two lesser offenses of lewdness with a minor. The jury also reduced one of the felony charges, coercion, to a misdemeanor.

Alotaibi showed no emotion during the verdict, which came down just after 1:30 p.m. today. Jurors began deliberations Tuesday afternoon before breaking for the night and resuming today.

Prosecutors said Alotaibi cornered the boy in the bathroom of Alotaibi's Circus Circus hotel room, where the two had sex.

The boy, now 14, was the first witness to testify. Alotaibi didn’t take the stand to share his side of the story. Jurors, however, were reminded Alotaibi was not required to testify and were instructed that they were not allowed to hold Alotaibi's silence against him.

An interrogation video in which Alotaibi admitted to sexual activity with the boy was shown at trial.

Alotaibi’s attorney Don Chairez argued detectives should not have interviewed Alotaibi because he was drunk. Chairez also maintained his client was too intoxicated to have intentionally committed the crimes.

Police detectives and Circus Circus security guards testified that Alotaibi didn’t appear drunk.

Also at issue during trial was the boy’s initial version of the incident as told to police.

The boy admitted on the stand that he had lied when he said Alotaibi dragged him into a hotel room. The teen testified he approached Alotaibi about purchasing marijuana and agreed to exchange sex for money. The boy told jurors he thought he could trick Alotaibi and run off with the weed and cash before having to do anything sexual. By the time he figured out he was in over his head, he didn’t know how to escape, the boy said.

“I was freaked out. I wanted to leave. I didn’t know what to do,” the boy testified, saying he told Alotaibi he wanted to call it off, but Alotaibi just offered to pay him more money and eventually forced himself on the boy.

Prosecutors said the boy had nothing to gain from lying about the rape. Telling security about the attack only caused the boy to have to admit to marijuana use, undergo an invasive medical exam and talk about a mortifying experience in front of strangers in a courtroom, prosecutor Jacqueline Bluth said.

“Why go through those things if that didn’t happen to you?” Bluth asked.

Jurors also saw footage of the boy scrambling out of Alotaibi’s hotel room and to the elevator, where he could be seen repeatedly pressing the button to close the doors.

The jury also heard from one of Alotaibi’s friends who said he knocked on the door several times while Alotaibi and the boy were in the bathroom.

Alotaibi listened to an Arabic translation of the proceedings through an earpiece.

Bluth said prosecutors were happy with the verdict and has not decided if they will seek the maximum prison time.

Alotaibi’s sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16 in front of Judge Stefany Miley. Alotaibi faces a minimum of 35 years in prison and faces up to life in prison.

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