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Ex-deputy sentenced for sexual misconduct at Clark County Jail

A former Clark County corrections deputy who sexually assaulted two women detained at the Clark County Jail in 2017 apologized Monday for his actions, but before the hearing, placed some blame on the sheriff’s office and victims.

Christopher A. North, 31, was sentenced in Clark County Superior Court to nearly 3½ years in prison. He pleaded guilty last month to second-degree custodial sexual misconduct, voyeurism and indecent exposure. He also entered an “in re Barr” plea to indecent liberties, meaning he pleaded guilty to a lesser related charge he didn’t commit to avoid conviction for a greater offense.

North’s standard sentencing range was between 31 and 41 months. A pre-sentence investigation recommended a three-year sentence based partially on his lack of adult criminal history and six years of service in the U.S. Marines, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I am deeply sorry for the pain that I caused them,” North said Monday. “I’m extremely sorry for what I did and for what I did to the badge of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.”

But he also expounded on a statement he made during the pre-sentence investigation that the environment at the jail “blurred the line,” according to court records. North said he had developed jaded sexual thoughts prior to the incidents.

“I had wanted the leave the field for a while,” North said. “Working at Clark County, I began to despise people because of who they were and what they’d done.”

North also said during the pre-sentence investigation that the victims were “just as involved as me,” according to court records.

“It hurts that they’re trying to portray me as a bad person,” North said, according to court records. “I did something bad, but not once did I force anything.”

Violation of trust

In March 2017, North led a woman, who was going through the jail to be transferred elsewhere, to a private room to change. While she was changing into personal clothing, he opened a door, which led her to quickly put her top back on, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The woman said that later, as North was taking her fingerprints, he caressed her fingers and told her she was too pretty to be in jail, according to court records.

She was then placed in a cell with windows facing the property room. North stood in the doorway, exposed himself and began masturbating while looking at the woman, the affidavit said.

Afterward, he told her he had her personal information and would meet her outside of the jail, according to court records. North, while initially denying the claims against him, told investigators he communicated with several female inmates online after their release from jail.

Then, in July 2017, North brought another woman to a private room at the jail — with no cameras — and instructed her to change. He then went to an adjacent room and watched her undress before re-entering, according to court records.

North told the woman she would need to wait in the room because the normal holding cell was full. As the woman waited in the room for two hours for transportation, North struck up a conversation with her and, at one point, entered the room and began masturbating. She was unable to escape his grasp as he pressed his body against her and masturbated on her, according to court records.

The ejaculate recovered from the woman’s clothes matched North’s DNA, Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said during last month’s hearing. North was placed on leave after his arrest in July 2017 before being fired less than a month later.

Smith, the prosecutor, said some of the accounts North gave in the pre-sentence investigation were “drastically different” from previous versions.

He asked for the most severe sentence. Smith said North’s crimes were shameful and had lasting, negative consequences on the two victims.

“Mr. North committed these crimes violating the county and the sheriff’s trust in him,” Smith said.

One of the victims, who was not present for Monday’s hearing, offered a written statement read aloud by a victim advocate. The woman described how the incident led to issues with her social life, a constant feeling that she was being watched and an inability to fully trust correction’s deputies while in jail.

“If I can’t feel safe in the custody of the Clark County sheriff’s deputies, where can I feel safe?” the statement read. “Most days I still feel like I’m being watched by somebody, somewhere.”

Judge Bernard Veljacic said that, based on his position at the time, North’s claim that the victims welcomed the acts is irrelevant.

“Even in a best-case scenario where that person was giving you positive feedback, that mutuality cannot exist in a custodial context,” Veljacic said. “You are the proverbial fox in the hen house.”