Sorias back in court today |

Sorias back in court today

by Christy Chalmers

Prosecutors asked Tuesday to dismiss a sexual assault charge against a man who was accused of helping his father seduce a 15-year-old girl.

Thomas Soria Jr., 19, and Thomas Soria Sr., 39, were scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing today in Tahoe Township Justice Court on charges of sexual assault against a child under 16, a felony.

The case surfaced during an investigation of the murder of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman. Both men are charged in that case.

In a one-paragraph motion filed Tuesday morning, Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins said dismissing the sexual assault charge against Soria Jr. “is in the best interest of justice.”

“We don’t have enough evidence to sustain a conviction against him on that charge,” Perkins said.

Nathan Tod Young, one of the attorneys representing Soria Jr., agreed.

“There is absolutely no evidence Mr. Soria Jr. committed a crime,” he said when asked about the dismissal motion.

Young and Perkins said the dismissal was not part of a plea bargain and emphasized the dismissal of the assault charge has no implications for the Steadman case, which is scheduled for a preliminary hearing starting May 8.

A justice court clerk said the sexual assault preliminary hearing is scheduled to proceed this morning. Tahoe Justice of the Peace Steve McMorris can rule on the dismissal request then.

The Sorias were each charged with sexual assault in the case that is to proceed today.

Affidavits filed when the charges were brought alleged Soria Jr. had befriended the girl, and when she showed a romantic interest in him, he steered her toward Soria Sr., telling her that Soria Sr. suffered from tumors that could rupture and kill him if he became upset.

When they filed the assault charges against Soria Jr., prosecutors cited a state law that allows people accused of aiding and abetting a crime to be tried as principals.

The case emerged during the investigation of Steadman’s death. Her body was found March 20 off Highway 50 near Carson City, a day after she disappeared from a parking lot at the Lake Park Apartments in Stateline, where the Sorias lived.

Witnesses said they had seen her playing with Soria Jr. He was arrested for investigation of murder and kidnapping shortly after she was found.

Charges of sexual assault were later added. Soria Sr. was arrested March 28 on the sexual assault charges involving the teen-ager and charged a day later with murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in Steadman’s death.

The Sorias have been in the Douglas County jail without bail.