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Man who escaped child sex charge back in court

A man who recently escaped a child sex assault conviction was back in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on charges that he was allegedly in possession of child pornography in 2011.

Robert Michael Pearson, 45, appeared in Pahrump Justice Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of possession of child pornography, prepare/advertise/distribute pornography matter involving minor and two counts of promotion of sexual performance of a minor.

He was acquitted by a jury following a week-long trial in February.

According to a separate criminal complaint filed Nov. 13, 2013, Pearson allegedly mailed several photos, one depicting a young female with no top on and another of female genitalia, from his Pahrump address to an inmate at a prison in Lovelock.

The complaint states that the females depicted in those photos were under the age of 16, the age of consent in Nevada.

The state opened its case against Pearson with testimony from an expert witness as to her professional opinion of the relative ages of the females featured in the suspect photographs.

Dr. Anna Contomitros, a gynecological surgeon who practices in Las Vegas, testified that based upon her education and more than 20 years experience, the female pictured with no shirt on is likely between the ages of 13 and 16.

She additionally testified that the photo of the female genitalia she was asked to examine likely belonged to a female less than 10 years old.

Pearson’s attorney, Harry Gensler, questioned Contomitros as to how accurate her prediction could be if she was not able to physically examine and question the people shown in the photographs.

She said she could give an age range based on their physical appearance, but not an exact age without speaking to the females in person.

When asked if she had ever been asked to testify as to the age of someone by just looking at a photo before, she replied she had not.

A prosecutor in the case told the court he planned to call seven witnesses to testify during the hearing. The testimony of the first two witnesses, however, took up most of Thursday afternoon.

This is the second child-related case Pearson has appeared on in the local court system this year.

On Feb. 13 he was found not guilty of a charge of lewdness with a child under 14, a category A felony, following a jury trial in District Court.

That charge stemmed from a June 2013 allegation that he had inappropriately rubbed himself against a 9-year-old girl he was supposed to be watching while her mother was shopping.

According to his arrest report, it wasn’t the first time Pearson had been arrested on child abuse or molestation allegations. He was allegedly arrested in California for child cruelty and in Reno for sexual assault of a child.

Although the prosecution made efforts to have those allegations made known to the jury during the February trial, Gensler objected, stating the information would be too inflammatory for jurors, and could cost his client a fair trial. Presiding Judge Kimberly Wanker ultimately ruled that legally she could not allow jurors to hear all of Pearson’s prior bad acts.

Testimony in the preliminary hearing on the child pornography charges was expected to spill over into a second day.

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