LOCAL NEWS

Accused Child Molester Freed; Community on Edge

By Carlos Padilla

HERALD Editor

The recent release of an accused child molester arrested approximately one month ago and charged with one count of kidnapping and two counts of molestation of a very young girl has resulted in a flurry of phone calls to local law enforcement, the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office and The Herald.

As reported on the front page of the April 4, 2012, edition of The Herald (Vol. 83, No. 38), 61-year-old Russell Finn of Truth or Consequences was arrested after a state agency had gathered information regarding an allegation of molestation involving the young girl. Finn was identified by the girl’s mother as the man who had molested her daughter.

Ron Lolordo of the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office is handling the case, and told The Herald last week that Mr. Finn had been arrested and was in custody awaiting a preliminary hearing. By law, if a defendant is in custody, the preliminary hearing has to be held within 10 days.

The prosecution’s main witness currently is unavailable, making it impossible for the District Attorney’s Office to have a hearing within 10 days, therefore, the District Attorney’s Office says they had no choice but to allow Finn to be released pending a preliminary hearing with the court.

Finn was released under standard conditions of release, including stipulations that he not violate any laws, has no contact with the victim or witnesses, does not use alcohol or drugs, and maintains regular contact with the local Adult Parole & Probation Office.

Finn reportedly was already on probation for an unrelated, prior offense reportedly involving illegal substances.

Members of the community contacted The Herald last week, stating they had recognized Mr. Finn from the April 4, 2012 edition, and had apparently observed Finn panhandling in Ralph Edwards Park, near the basketball court and children’s playground.

The witnesses contacted the Truth or Consequences Police Department and Sierra County Sheriff’s Department prior to contacting the District Attorney’s Office, and told The Herald they were told Mr. Finn was released from the Sierra County Detention Center, and served with a criminal summons to appear in court at a later date.

“If he is found to have violated his conditions of release, he can be re-incarcerated,” Mr. Lolordo told The Herald.

The District Attorney’s Office told The Herald that they did not know if Mr. Finn was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet as a condition of his release.

Finn’s most recent charges include first-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony criminal contact of a minor, and third-degree felony criminal sexual contact of a minor.

At the time of his most recent arrest, Finn was denied bond.

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