For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has released the results of a recent trial involving charges of lewdness with a child and sexual assault of a child. The defendant was found guilty of six counts last Friday and faces the possibility a life sentences in prison on each count. Sentencing is set for August 30, 2018 in Department 3 of Washoe County District Court.
Jim Hwa Chen, 54, from Reno, was found guilty on 1 count of Sexual Assault of a Child Under 14 years of Age and 5 counts of Lewdness with a Child Under 14 Years of Age after having been indicted in August, 2017. The investigation into Chen began when the Sparks Police Department and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) responded to a report of possible sexual abuse of a child that had occurred several years prior. The then adult victim in the case was receiving medical treatment when she reported that she had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child by a male relative.
The abuse recounted by the victim occurred when she was between 4 1/2 and 13 years of age and included multiple incidents of lewd acts of touching and a sexual assault. Based on the WCSO detective’s thorough investigation, including interviews of the victim’s family and additional witnesses, an interview of Chen, and an undercover operation where Chen admitted to the sexual abuse, Chen was arrested by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Crimes Against Children Unit, and this office sought and received an indictment from the Grand Jury.
During Trial, Chief Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hicks presented evidence of Chen’s guilt, his multiple admissions, testimony of family and witnesses, and testimony by the victim recounting the abuse she suffered at the hands of Chen.