Fugitive from sex assault charge in custody

A former Carson City resident wanted on charges of lewdness and sexual assault in both Carson City and Douglas County has been captured in Washington state.

James Ernest Hope, 42, was arrested Aug. 29 by the Clallam County Sheriff's Office on suspicion of felony first-degree child molestation and communication with a minor for immoral purposes after he allegedly molested a 7-year-old girl.

Clallam County is located in northwest Washington and includes the city of Port Angeles.

The girl allegedly disclosed the molestation to her mother, who then called police. Hope was using the alias Matt Hammerschmidt. He had identification for five aliases on him when he was arrested, according to Carson City Detective Cate Summers.

Hope has two felony warrants out of Carson City District Court for failure to appear on a status check and violation of bail conditions. He also has a warrant in East Fork Justice Court.

Hope, who formerly owned Hope's Painting & Drywall, was arrested in May 2004 and ordered to stand trial in Carson City on four counts of lewdness with a minor under the age of 14 and one count of sexual assault of a child under 14. The two victims in the case were 4 and 6 at the time.

According to court documents, the girls allegedly told their mother that Hope assaulted them in 2001. The conversation came up between the mother and daughters during an episode of the "Montel Williams Show" dealing with sexual assault, the mother testified.

Then while out on $100,000 bail, Hope allegedly asked a 10-year-old Minden girl with whom he was acquainted a sexually suggestive question, licked her face and put his hand in her pants while her mother was in another room, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Hope is being held on $1 million bond.


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