Man competent in sexual assault case |

Man competent in sexual assault case

by Rachel Spacek

An Oregon man appeared in Douglas County District Court for a competency hearing on Tuesday. The man faces an indictment for sexual assault on a child.

Juan G. Ramirez-Vargas, 45, is denying charges of sexual assault on a child under 14 and lewdness with a child under 14. In court, District Judge Tod Young concluded that Ramirez-Vargas is competent to proceed to trial.

Ramirez-Vargas is accused of molesting a 7-year-old at an apartment in the Ironwood subdivision in Minden in March 2016. He was arrested on March 24 in Oregon and was brought to Douglas County in April.

His trial is set to begin May 16.

A South Lake Tahoe man changed his original plea to guilty on Tuesday, deciding to admit to a charge of battery causing substantial bodily harm.

Michael R. Burghard, 29, was arrested on Oct. 23, 2014 on charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputies were dispatched to the Lakeside Inn and Casino for a battery report. On scene, deputies met with the victim who said he met Burghard at the Tavern Bar inside the casino. The two of them were gambling together when Burghard left briefly. When he returned, he accused the victim of stealing his player points. The two of them got into an argument.

Burghard told the victim he wanted to fight and they should go outside. The victim said he did not want to fight, but went outside anyway.

Deputies also spoke to the bartender who said he saw the two men and heard the argument. He allegedly went over to break the argument up. He told Burghard it was impossible to steal player points, however the man said nothing got through to Burghard.

After the men went outside, the bartender went to check on them and found Burghard striking the victim. Video surveillance corroborates both statements.

Deputies contacted the victim later who had his right jawbone broken and wired shut for six weeks.

Burghard is facing a maximum of five years in prison. His sentencing date is set for April 3.

Two Gardnerville men were granted diversion programs in court.

Joseph R. Chafin, 24, was originally arrested on a DUI third offense after deputies responded to a traffic collision at Highway 395 and Topsy Lane.

On scene, deputies met with Chafin, who told them he was drunk and had smoked marijuana before driving. Chafin also told deputies he was driving and fell asleep. A blood sample showed Chafin had cocaine and marijuana in his system and a blood alcohol level of .125.

Chafin had a previous DUI conviction in 2014.

In court Chafin told Young he finally understood he could never have another drink again. Young granted him diversion, but warned him to take advantage of it.

“Take advantage of this because it is way too easy to continue down this path. If you do, you will give every other judge a reason to put you in jail,” Young said.

Clinton A. Neely, 34, was granted a diversion program as well for his insistent use of methamphetamine. Earlier this month, Neely was taken into custody to await his sentencing hearing after he tested positive for methamphetamine. He was originally out of jail on his own recognizance. He was originally arrested on charges of possession of paraphernalia, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of a hypodermic needle, no tail lights and no driver’s license charges.

In court Young told Neely, “you are pushing trying to die, you need to stop that.”

Neely will attend the next drug court date.