Lopez Defense Crumbles

  • 2023-01-27, 06:03 AM (update 2023-01-27, 06:08 AM)
  • Rachel Dahl
Lopez Defense Crumbles From social media Manuel Lopez coached Greenwave girls soccer in 2020 and 2021.

On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, Manuel Lopez was sentenced in District Court on two charges stemming from an incident on April 8, 2022, at his place of employment, Churchill County Social Services, when a coworker found a spy camera in the office bathroom which captured images of female workers. 

The criminal complaint, filed on June 13, 2022, charged Lopez with one count of Capturing the Image of Private Area of Another Person, a Gross Misdemeanor, and one count of Destroying or Concealing Evidence, a Gross Misdemeanor, after Lopez, “did delete images from his spy camera that he used to capture images of his coworkers using the restroom,” as stated in the complaint.

On August 24, 2022, the Criminal Complaint was amended to include a third charge of Possession of Visual Pornography of Person Under 16 Years of Age, a Category B Felony, in which the complaint charges Lopez as being in possession of multiple images of children under the age of 16 engaged in sexual conduct and or as a subject of a sexual portrayal.

Sheriff Richard Hickox said on Wednesday, January 25, that his office was contacted by county staff when the April event was discovered and asked if they could assist with the investigation. It was immediately discovered that a member of the sheriff’s staff had a family member who worked in the social services office, so the Sheriff called in Nevada Department of Investigation Major Crimes Division to take over the case in light of the conflict of interest. “We did not get any briefs during the investigation, it was their case,” said Hickox.
According to Bob Erickson, Chief of Staff at the City of Fallon, the Fallon Police Department was never involved in the investigation.

During the sentencing hearing, Tuesday, defense attorney for Lopez, Wayne Peterson, stated Lopez has been an upstanding member of the Nevada community for 46 years. He said he had served on the volunteer fire department for 11 years, however, Jared Dooley confirmed on Wednesday that he had never been a member of the Fallon/Churchill Fire Department. It was also mentioned that Lopez had been a youth coach for nearly 22 years. 

Superintendent Summer Stephens confirmed in a statement issued Wednesday, that Lopez was the Varsity soccer coach at Churchill County High School from the fall of 2020 through the fall 2021 season.

“In the spring of 2022, he was dismissed immediately by the district upon the school district being informed that he was under investigation for a crime unrelated to students,” said Stephens. “The school district has never received allegations of wrongdoing by Mr. Lopez on school property or with students. The school district has never been informed that he was under investigation for any wrongdoing related to students,” she said in the statement and referred parents to contact law enforcement if they had concerns relating to the investigation. 

Judge Stockard assessed the defendant fees totaling $1,528 and sentenced him to 364 days on the gross misdemeanor, of Capturing the Image of Private Area of Another Person. On the felony, Possession of Visual Pornography of Person Under 16 Years of Age, 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. Lopez was also ordered to register as a sex offender within 48 hours of sentencing or release from custody. 

At press time several calls to the investigator at NDI had not been returned. We will update this story as new information becomes available. 


Rachel Dahl



Comments (0)

Adding comment means accepting the rules and regulations. Vulgar, offensive content that violates the rules and regulations will be removed.

By submitting comments, you accept the rules and regulations of the portal. (company name) located  in (city) is the administrator of your personal data for purposes related to the use of the website. According to law, providing personal data is voluntary, the User has the right to access their data at all times and correct them.