ST. GEORGE — A former Mesquite, Nevada, police officer accused of sexually exploiting a teen waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in favor of moving his case to a possible resolution set for later this month.
Gary Erickson, 50, of Bunkerville, Nevada, appeared in 5th District Court Tuesday morning before Judge Eric Ludlow with defense attorney Ryan Stout, who told the court his client was ready to see the case resolved. A resolution hearing was set for Nov. 27.
Erickson faces three second-degree felony counts of exploiting a minor, a third-degree felony for dealing in materials harmful to a minor, and a class A misdemeanor for the sexual abuse of a minor.
The charges stem from accusations that Erickson committed sexual offenses involving a 15-year-old boy. That led to Erickson’s arrest Sept. 12 and his termination from the Mesquite Police force.
According to court records, Erickson met the boy in March over Grindr, a social media dating app catering to gay men. The teen listed his age as 18 to get on the app, and when he told Erickson his actual age, Erickson allegedly told the boy, “That doesn’t bother me.”
Erickson was going by the fake name of “Eric Smith” during his interactions with the boy.
Over the following months the teen and Erickson exchanged nude video and images of each other and eventually arranged to meet at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center in St. George where Erickson had a scuba class in the evening.
The two engaged in “sexual acts” in the locker room at the aquatic center, according to court documents.
The boy later told his parents of the encounter and they contacted St. George Police.
The police opened an investigation and issued a warrant for Erickson’s arrest. He was arrested in Las Vegas and transported to the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County.
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