Manny Lopez Sentenced - Required to Register as Sex Offender

  • 2023-01-25, 07:31 AM (update 2023-01-25, 10:49 AM)
  • Teresa Moon
Manny Lopez Sentenced - Required to Register as Sex Offender

On Tuesday, January 24, Manuel Lopez appeared before Judge Tom Stockard in the Tenth Judicial District Court for sentencing on a Gross Misdemeanor charge of Capturing an image of the private area of another person or persons; and a Category D Felony of Possession of Visual Pornography of a Person Under 16 Years of Age.

The charges stem from an incident that happened in April of 2022 at the office where Lopez worked, when the victim, a co-worker found a spy device in the bathroom.

It was stated during the hearing that Lopez had worked at Churchill County Social Services.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills began his argument by stating, "This case is about a number of things. One of them is a breach of trust that's so unimaginable. It's also about a predator." He explained the conduct in the workplace was initially discovered two years prior to the incident this case is regarding, but the defendant had built such a sense of trust with his coworkers that no one thought anything of it. "He was just warned not to bring this spy camera to work." Mills told the Court the defendant purchased the device in 2015 and had it mailed to himself at work.

Mills also explained that Lopez told Dr. Martha Mahaffey, who performed the psychosexual evaluation for the case, that he has engaged in this behavior since 2015; for 7 years. Mills stated, "This is not a one-time thing ... and even after he was caught... he returned to this conduct."

Mills said when the search warrant was conducted on the Lopez house, the defendant had disposed of evidence; his cell phone which he had "transferred stuff to," and the USB drive. Lopez admits he disposed of evidence.

However, he didn't get rid of everything according to Mills. "He didn't get rid of a VHS tape that had a pre-pubescent Hispanic female engaged in sexual activity."

Mills told the Court the defendant admits that 5% of his viewing pornography is child pornography.

Lopez was diagnosed with voyeurism disorder and rated as an average or moderate risk to re-offend by Dr. Mahaffey.

Mills said the big picture is, "This defendant is an opportunist. He was a predator that day in April. He's been a predator for seven years." Mills went on to say that the workplace "is your second family" and that the defendant has been preying on his coworkers. "Showing one side of his face to them; behind their backs, showing another. And it wasn't just them; he also used this recording device with the team he coached."

Several mothers of the players formerly coached by Lopez confirmed that he had coached girls’ soccer at Churchill County High School.

Mills told the Court this defendant is a predator and "we have to dissuade predators in this community." Mills said this is not a defendant who should be granted the privilege of probation.

Court Appointed defense Attorney Wayne A. Peterson representing Lopez said of Lopez, "for the last 46 years has given much back to Northern Nevada." He explained Lopez has lived in Fallon for the last 23 years, and had served as a volunteer EMT for six years (he did not say in which community), took part in the Northern Nevada Spanish Coalition, and was a soccer coach for 22 years. Peterson said Lopez has worked at Social Services for the last 15 years as a "drug and alcohol counselor himself, bringing hundreds of people from the darkness of addiction."

He said, "You can see from what I've laid out here he has given much more than he's taken," and asked the Court to consider that. Peterson stated that the defendant has "lost his reputation, honor, respect." Peterson said both Dr. Mahaffey and the Pre-sentence Investigative Report said Lopez would benefit from counseling to understand what he was doing; he didn't face up to why or what he was doing, the seriousness of what he was doing. Peterson said the defendant has no criminal history.

He said, "And for that, I think, he's at least earned the right to have a chance at probation." He suggested if the Court believes punishment is needed, incarceration in the Churchill County Jail could be a condition of probation; and he could receive the maximum prison sentence, suspended, as an incentive.
Peterson concluded his argument by asking the Court to consider probation, "If the Court believes he needs to be punished, the Court still has those tools available without putting him in prison."

Lopez told the Court he has "struggled a lot with what I did and what happened." He apologized to the women he worked with saying, "I don't have words to say that I'm sorry sufficiently for what I've done to them." He told the Court he was going the wrong way, and he is grateful for that day in April (referring to when the victim found the spy device), and he thanked the victim for speaking up because she saved his life. Lopez said he can never make up for what he did, but he has changed.

The victim was present and read her victim impact statement to the Court. She began by telling the Court this has had a deep impact emotionally and psychologically. She said, "He planned it, and he targeted me." The victim worried about the possible consequences of reporting Lopez. She worried no one would believe her, she would lose her job, she would be forced to quit her job to avoid working with Lopez, she worried about her children at daycare because his wife worked there, and most of all she worried about retaliation. She still worries about retaliation.

She said that when she did report the incident, "the immediate response from HR and my boss was that the County had never had any issues with him, and they couldn't believe he would possibly do something like this." She felt everyone "believed or hoped I was mistaken."

The victim stated this has impacted every aspect of her life, "from my relationship with my husband and family, my job, my mental health, and my perception of Fallon as a safe place, to worrying about my kids' experience at their daycare." She told the Court she knows she was targeted by a predator; she knows she did the right thing, and "I believe the high school soccer team is safer without him as their coach."

It bothers her to know there are other victims who will not get justice or closure. She concluded her impact statement by saying, "Ultimately this entire experience has shown me that I can teach my kids to do the right thing in spite of the consequences."

Stockard assessed fees totaling $1,528 and told Lopez he has to register as a sex offender within 48 hours of sentencing or release from custody. He then sentenced Lopez to 364 days on Gross Misdemeanor. On the Felony, he was sentenced to 19-65 months in Nevada State Prison to run concurrent to the Gross Misdemeanor sentence. Credit was given for one day time served.
Stockard told Lopez, "I am not going to grant you the privilege of probation" and remanded him to the custody of the Churchill County Sheriff for the imposition of the sentence.



Teresa Moon



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Andrew 2023-01-28, 02:46 PM
Why in the world with the county just push this under the rug and let him continue working there seems like this should be more than just him looking at charges it's unbelievable people like that never change