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Elko sheriff’s deputy arrested on sex, drug charges

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ELKO – An Elko County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Wednesday on multiple felony charges.

Richard T. Lespade, 37, faces two counts of sexual assault, battery with the intent to commit a sexual assault, and sale or transportation of a controlled substance. His bail was listed at $770,000.

A criminal complaint filed late Tuesday afternoon lists one count of sexual assault in May 2014 and another “in the late spring or early summer of 2020” on the same victim. It also accuses him of bribing or encouraging the victim to do certain things in exchange for prescription amphetamines.

After the first incident, the alleged victim said she was afraid to report it because of Lespade’s status as a sheriff’s office employee.

An investigation by the Elko Police Department revealed that Lespade had a valid prescription for Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat ailments such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.

“Upon learning of the initial allegations, the Elko County Sheriff’s Office immediately placed Deputy Lespade on administrative leave,” the sheriff’s office stated in a Thursday announcement. “Further, the Elko County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a separate internal affairs investigation into the incident.”

The initial offenses are alleged to have occurred prior to Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza being elected.

“The Elko County Sheriff’s Office understands that these are very significant allegations against a member of this office and will work diligently to discover the facts surrounding this case,” stated the announcement. “Sheriff Narvaiza will not tolerate this type of behavior from a member of this agency and would like to assure our community that he fully supports both the criminal and administrative investigations.”

Narvaiza said he also fully supports the Elko County District Attorney’s Office in their decision to charge this case. The Sheriff’s Office will provide full cooperation with the criminal investigation, as well as ensure that the administrative investigation is completed in a thorough and timely fashion.

Lespade was also in the news four years ago when a gun registered to him was used in a December 2016 shooting at the Smith’s grocery parking lot in Elko.

Lespade, who worked security at the Elko County Courthouse when the case went to trial, testified in court that the .40-caliber SIG Sauer was a gift from family and had been stolen. James R. Blake, 30, pleaded no contest to shooting Michael May and was sentenced to prison with parole eligibility after 28 months.

Lespade was assigned to the sheriff department’s detention division at the time of this week’s arrest.

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