Judge dismisses 4 charges in rape allegation
October 28, 2004
Calling 48-year-old Kenneth Pestana “a wannabe Charlie Manson,” East Fork Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl nevertheless dismissed four of five charges Thursday against the Gardnerville man accused of holding a 19-year-old woman hostage.
“You are the Pied Piper of every emotionally crippled teenage young adult in Carson Valley that uses methamphetamine,” EnEarl said. “There’s a good chance that you belong in prison.”
But EnEarl said “glaring inconsistencies” in the testimony and evidence led him to drop the kidnaping and sexual assault charges.
“It is difficult for me to conceive of a kidnap in which the alleged victim was allowed to come and go on numerous occasions with a mere threat of physical violence,” EnEarl said. “By ‘mere,’ I mean it was the victim’s testimony that she had been threatened for most of her life, but it never seemed to phase her.”
EnEarl dismissed charges of kidnapping in the first degree with use of a deadly weapon, sexual assault with use of a deadly weapon, sexual assault and involuntary servitude.
He bound Pestana over to Douglas District Court on a felony charge of supplying a controlled substance.
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Pestana was arrested Sept. 29 after the 19-year-old said she’d been held for a week at the man’s Centerville home and was forced to have sex. She claimed that Pestana threatened to kill her and her children if she left. She finally left after five days.
Pestana denied the charges.
During a 10-hour preliminary hearing on Oct. 21, the young woman said she’d been using methamphetamine since she was 12 and that she took a job cleaning Pestana’s residence in exchange for the drug.
EnEarl said he discredited “cookie cutter” defense testimony by three Douglas County jail inmates and four young women that the alleged victim had bragged about her week at Pestana’s.
“It was almost as if it was rehearsed,” he said. “I didn’t believe most of it.”
EnEarl said he believed the woman’s injuries were inconsistent with her testimony.
“I believe the defense was successful in impeachment to a great degree of testimony of the alleged victim with regard to her injuries and with regard to the alleged rape,” EnEarl said.
Addressing Pestana, EnEarl said he didn’t believe the man was innocent.
“Just because you’re not bound over doesn’t mean for a moment I think you’re innocent because I don’t,” he said. “I believe the state came up short. You better take stock of what you’re doing because you’re going to lose everything.
“You’re dealing with a bunch of kids who are not necessarily emotionally stable. You’re going to get caught up one of these days. They’re going to roll over on you.”
Pestana’s lawyer, Arnold Brock of Reno, said after the hearing he felt the state would have difficulty proving the drug charge.
“The judge said it — the state came up short,” he said. “There’s not any evidence and not any credibility. I don’t think they have that much opportunity to prove the other charge.”
“We will go forward with the charge he was bound over on,” Prosecutor Kristine Brown said after the hearing.
Pestana had been held in Douglas County Jail on $500,000 bail until he was released on house arrest following last week’s preliminary hearing.
He is to be arraigned at 9 a.m. on Nov. 23 before District Judge Dave Gamble.
— Sheila Gardner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 214.