Man sentenced to 12 years for lewdness with 10-year-old

A 20-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos man was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in Nevada State Prison after he admitted sexual contact with a 10-year-old boy.

District Judge Dave Gamble told Mark Todd Dixon he must serve a minimum of two years before he is eligible for parole.

Dixon apologized to the boy who attended the sentencing, but did not speak.

"Words cannot express how horrible I feel about what transpired," Dixon said. "I know the anger (he) feels. I hope some day this child will be made right and this cycle will stop."

Gamble told Dixon part of that healing required the defendant to fully admit his wrongdoing.

Originally, Dixon denied molesting the boy, but later admitted two instances which occurred in 2004-05.

The boy claimed there were five acts against him.

"If at some point, you recognize the full extent of what you did to this boy, now is your opportunity to do something consistent with the repentance you claim," Gamble said. "Give the victim in this case an opportunity to have everybody believe him."

"I don't have anything to say," Dixon replied.

Gamble said Dixon will need lifetime supervision and must register as a sex offender.

In a victim impact statement, the boy said he wouldn't feel safe unless Dixon spent 10 years in prison.

Gamble read the boy's statement because the child said he was scared that Dixon would "get him" in court.

"It's important to me for (the victim) to benefit by hearing it read out loud. Here are the words of the young man you molested," Gamble said.

The statement served as a child's warning to parents.

"If he gets parole, even if he has to move 50 miles away, he can get to your child even if you watch them 24-7," the boy wrote.

"He's three times my size. For me to feel a little safe, he would have to be in jail for at least 10 years, because then I will have a fighting chance. Then he couldn't just hold me down."

Dixon's parents testified that their son was a happy, helpful child, but his behavior began to change when he was 3.

"He started being very angry, having outbursts and lashing out, often at me," said his mother, Shari Dixon.

When Dixon was 14, he admitted assaulting a 10-year-old boy and was sentenced through juvenile court.

According to his family, and psychologist Dr. Jack Araza, Dixon began to recall being abused by a babysitter and a cousin from ages 3-8.

The memories came back while Dixon was undergoing Marine Corps basic training in 2006. He was injured during boot camp, graduated basic training, but was discharged after the Douglas County charges were filed.

He also was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but is working toward reinstatement, according to testimony.

Araza said after testing and interviewing Dixon, he believed he was at a low risk to reoffend despite the two allegations.

"He had this episode at 14, then nothing else emerges until he is 17," Araza said.

According to testimony, both offenses were committed when Dixon was drunk.

Dixon's lawyer, James E. Wilson Jr. of Carson City, said with his client's strong family support, deep faith and desire to serve in the Marine Corps, "it makes you wonder how this could happen."

"Mark was introduced to sex in a deviant way at age 3 or 4 for some years and some number of times. That's what was imprinted in his brain. Had his parents known, this would have been addressed. Sadly, it wasn't. He never had counseling, he didn't know himself," Wilson said.

Gamble said it was ludicrous to suggest that Dixon's history of sexual abuse was not examined after the juvenile offense.

"In 21 years sitting on this bench, I have never had a juvenile molest case when a sexual evaluation was not done," Gamble said. "To simply say it was not addressed cannot be true. I am certain there was counseling as to the magnitude of what he had done and the potential to reoffend."

Wilson said there was a difference between knowing someone has been molested and treating the offender.

"Everyone who molests has been molested," Gamble said. "That's not universal, but it's close."

"If Mark had known, he could have addressed the issues he felt inside," Wilson said.

Wilson asked for leniency because he said Dixon had suffered substantial consequences.

He has been excommunicated from his church, discharged from the Marines and seen the effects on his family.

"He's a different person than he was when he was 17," Wilson said.

After two hours of testimony on behalf of the defendant, prosecutor Michael McCormick said the victim's life had been "tremendously impacted."

"He's home-school because he's tormented and taunted by the other kids about this. He has nightmares," McCormick said.

"This defendant took something (from the victim) we can never give back," McCormick said. "He took the innocence of his childhood. He has done something so unspeakable, so mean to (the victim)."

Dixon faced up to 20 years in prison.

In exchange for a guilty plea, the district attorney's office dropped three counts of lewdness with a child under 14 which could have resulted in life in prison.

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