Suspected molester waives hearing, heads to district court

James Ernest Hope, 43, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday and was bound over to district court on allegations he fondled a 10-year-old Minden girl three years ago.

The victim, now 13, and her mother, were set to testify against Hope on Friday before the hearing was waived in East Fork Justice Court. They were in court with the family of two sisters in Carson City allegedly molested by the house painter.

Acting Justice Paul Gilbert ordered Hope to appear Oct. 1 before District Judge Michael Gibbons on a felony charge of lewdness with a child under 14.

"Do you understand what's happening here today?" Gilbert asked.

"Yes, I do," Hope said.

If he pleads guilty or is convicted at trial, Hope faces life in prison with possibility of parole in 10 years.

"By waiving your right to a preliminary hearing, you are going to be bound over to district court. You still have the right to a trial," Gilbert said.

Hope was returned to Douglas County Jail in July from Clallam Bay Corrections Center in Washington where he is serving up to life in prison for felony child molestation in the first degree and gross misdemeanor communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

He pleaded guilty to the Washington charges Nov. 3, 2006.

Hope is charged in Douglas County with lewdness with a child under 14 stemming from an incident which occurred Sept. 19, 2004, while he was awaiting trial in Carson City on allegations he had molested two sisters who were 4 and 6.

According to court documents, the Minden girl told deputies that Hope made sexually suggestive comments and touched her inappropriately while her mother was in another room.

The girl ran to her mother who ordered Hope out of the house and contacted deputies. According to court documents, she had known Hope for two weeks.

Hope, a Carson City painting contractor and former police cadet, disappeared after Douglas County issued a warrant with $100,000 bail in September 2004.

He was arrested in Washington in September 2006 after fleeing from police there who wished to question him after a girl told her mother he molested her.

After the Douglas County charge is adjudicated, Hope is to be transferred to Carson City where he is facing four counts of lewdness with a minor under 14 and one count of sexual assault of a child under 14.

He is being held in Douglas County Jail without bail.


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