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Sexual abuse defendant remains behind bars

<p>Michael Mack </p>

Michael Mack

A man accused of sexually abusing a mentally disabled woman was denied an own recognizance release or bail reduction in the case last week in District Court.

Michael Allen Mack, 69, appeared on a motion for an OR release or bail reduction Friday morning citing existing and new medical issues he needed to have addressed as the reason for the request.

Mack was first taken into custody in April, along with co-defendants George Quiroga, 65, and Albert Gatzke, 81, after the victim in the case, whom police are calling “Courtney,” was taken to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office by two family friends to tell police of the alleged abuse she was suffering.

When interviewed about the allegations, police said Mack allegedly confessed to engaging in numerous sex acts with the victim over the last decade, stating he and the victim often gave “each other massages” and that the behavior would sometimes lead to more intimate touching, including oral sex.

Mack then allegedly told officers he believed co-defendant Gatzke was also involved with the victim as well.

Further investigation into the case additionally led police to Quiroga, who also allegedly admitted to having sexual relations with the mentally disabled woman.

Mack was then charged with two counts of sexual assault; preventing or dissuading a victim from reporting a crime, commencing prosecution or causing arrest; unlawful contact with a person with mental illness and abuse of a vulnerable person.

Quiroga was charged with sexual assault, unlawful contact with a person with mental illness and abuse of a vulnerable person and Gatzke was charged with two counts of sexual assault.

Although all three were arrested on similar charges, Mack is the only one who remains in custody at this time.

Quiroga was released on a medical own recognizance release shortly after his arrest and Gatzke was later released to be rushed to a Las Vegas area hospital after he fell from a second story in the Nye County Detention Center in an attempted suicide.

Mack stated addressing his medical issues in jail was difficult as he was allegedly told there is a long list of inmates who need to see doctors and they would be seen as detention staff had time and people to transport them to local physicians.

He said in court Friday that he was being treated for a medical condition prior to his arrest, and since his incarceration has developed a painful swelling in his left leg.

The defendant claimed it took him over a month to get an appointment and be taken to see a specialist who was treating him prior to his arrest. Since that appointment on Aug. 9, he has yet to be taken back to the doctor’s office for additional testing that was ordered to address both his pre-existing and new conditions.

“Right now there’s some basic blood work my doctor ordered earlier this year and then he wants to do an ultrasound on my left leg to see what’s happening with the swelling and also do a nerve study as well,” Mack said.

Both Mack and his attorney argued it would be easier and more beneficial to the defendant’s health if he was released from custody to address his issues.

Although Deputy District Attorney Timothy Treffinger said he understood Mack’s need to see a physician, he did not feel the man’s current medical issues necessitated an OR release or bail reduction in the case at this time.

“While I respect that he has medical problems, as I stated in my objection, these are heinous charges. We have the possibility that this defendant, if sentenced on these charges, may die in prison. So while I understand these medical issues and we can try to work out getting him some kind of medical attention that doesn’t necessitate an OR release or bail reduction,” he said.

Mack’s attorney Tom Gibson, however, argued the number of issues his client was facing and the lack of timely medical attention he was receiving were grounds for either a release from jail or at least a bail reduction to enable his client to pay to be released from custody.

“While these are heinous charges, they’re heinous charges against all three defendants who are basically charged with the same thing,” he said. “However, the other two defendants with those same type of heinous charges are out of custody – one on a medical OR.”

After hearing about Mack’s problems with his medical care, presiding Judge Kimberly Wanker said she was concerned about the slow rate at which Mack was receiving medical care. She agreed with the prosecutor in the case, however, explaining based on her review of the charges and the nature of the alleged offense she didn’t believe his issues necessitated an OR release.

“It’s concerning to me to hear what Mr. Mack has said today, that the jail isn’t providing treatment. So what I’m going to do is deny the motion for an OR release and I’m not going to reduce the amount of bail, but I am going to order that he be given the necessary treatment that’s required. I understand he’s incarcerated, but it also sounds like if Mr. Mack is requiring these appointments they need to get him to them,” she said.

Mack continues to be held at the Nye County Detention Center on $65,000 bail at this time.