Wenker faces four felony counts — two each for child sexual assault and lewdness
During his 40-year career with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Ronald Wenker was a top government official who made statewide and national decisions on land issues.
But, on Friday morning, the 64-year-old sat in a room full of accused criminals at Washoe County Jail, where he made his first court appearance during a video arraignment.
Wenker’s arrest stemmed from the alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl who told sheriff’s deputies he had been sexually abusing her since she was 8.
During an interview with investigators, Wenker described molesting the girl over the years and said he thought she was enjoying the abuse as much as he was, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in support of his arrest. He said the girl was attractive, and he had been fighting his sexual urges for her for years.
The girl’s brother prompted the criminal investigation Monday night, the court document revealed. Her older brother caught Wenker allegedly molesting the girl in Wenker’s bedroom and later videotaped Wenker allegedly abusing his sister under a blanket as the trio and Wenker’s wife all sat together on a couch watching the 2012 London Olympics on television. During the first incident, Wenker told the boy “nothing” was going on and left his bedroom.
The boy called 911 after his sister disclosed the abuse upon his questioning, the document said. The girl also told Wenker’s wife about the ongoing assaults that occurred at the couple’s Hidden Valley home since 2007.
Wenker’s attorney and wife had no comment on the case. Wenker has declined media requests for an interview. National and state BLM offices also have declined comment.
During his tenure with the BLM, Wenker was the chief in Colorado and Nevada and, in 2009, ran the entire agency in Washington, D.C., during the Bush-Obama transition. He retired last year as Nevada’s BLM chief.
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