Victim waits months for former doctor's sentencing
By Caroline Bleakley, Senior Online Editor - email
LAS VEGAS -- An elderly woman hopes she lives long enough to see the man charged with sexually assaulting her go to prison.
She has been waiting for months as her assailant’s sentencing date keeps getting pushed back and she isn’t the only one.
The Nevada Division of Parole and Probation is describing its ongoing challenge with the delays in criminal sentencing as a “historical precedent.”
It all comes down to a "pre- sentence investigation report" which is a document the division of parole and probation has to submit to a judge before he or she can sentence a criminal. There is a major delay in the receiving of those reports.
Margaret Underwood is turning 80 on Thursday and all she wants for her birthday is to see the man, who she says sexually assaulted her, locked up behind bars.
"I have gone through too much. I can't do much more," Underwood said.
She is talking about former Karl Fazekas, a former doctor, charged in 2010 for sexually assaulting a number of his female patients. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of non-sexual coercion and was set to be sentenced earlier this year, but his sentencing keeps getting postponed.
Captain David Sonner with the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation says while there have been delays in the past; the problem has become more serious recently.
According to Sonner, many sentencing dates have been delayed because of an ongoing backlog in filing pre-sentence investigation reports. The documents outline a defendant’s criminal history and sentencing recommendations are made.
Captain Sonner's office is responsible for writing the reports, but recent budget problems forced him to cut staff by 25 percent. In addition, new legislation gives his department less time to file the reports. In some cases, sentencing has been delayed for months.
"The uncertainty of waiting is difficult for everybody. If we could get back to things working properly it would benefit everybody," Captain Sonner said.
"I am tired of people saying give it time! How much time do you need?" Underwood said.
Fazekas' new sentencing date has been set for Wednesday, May 7.
Captain Sonner says, in recent months, he's been able to move some staff around to allot more people to help file the reports. He says the backlog should ease up starting this summer.
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