A Saudi Arabian air force sergeant faces a minimum mandatory 35 years in state prison after a jury found him guilty of raping a 13-year-old boy at a Las Vegas Strip hotel last New Year’s Eve.
Defendant Mazen Alotaibi, 24, remained seated, clenching his jaw but showing no outward emotion as the verdict was read in Nevada state court yesterday.
Sentencing for the 24-year-old Royal Saudi Air Force mechanic, who had been in the U.S. for military training, is set for Dec. 16.
Clark County District Court Judge Stefany Miley could sentence him to prison for life.
The jury of nine women and three men found Alotaibi guilty of sexual assault with a minor for forcing oral and anal sex on the boy in the bathroom of a sixth-floor room at the Circus Circus hotel, and lewdness with a child for fondling and kissing the boy on the way to the room.
After several minutes of denials, Alotaibi acknowledged to police that he engaged in sex with the boy.
The Associated Press is withholding the boy’s name because of his age and the nature of the case.
Nevada state law says a child under 16 can’t give consent. But Alotaibi’s lawyer, Don Chairez, said Alotaibi was too intoxicated after drinking all night at a strip club to know if he was doing anything wrong.
Alotaibi had been charged with nine felonies, but was found guilty of six felonies and one misdemeanor.
The jury acquitted him of two lewdness counts that were offered as lesser alternatives to the two most serious counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14.
Alotaibi was convicted of two other counts of lewdness with a child under 14 and one count of kidnapping, which each carry a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
He was also found guilty of felony burglary for entering a building with intent to commit a crime, and of misdemeanor coercion.
The boy testified that he was waiting to go to breakfast with a friend when he approached Alotaibi and other men early Dec. 31 in a hallway at the Circus Circus because he smelled marijuana on their clothes and wanted pot.
The jury heard that other men who lounged and smoked in the room shooed the boy away after learning that he was 13.
Alotaibi followed the boy, out of the room, smoked marijuana with him outside the hotel, and asked the boy for sex, according to the boy’s account.
Alotaibi was seen on elevator surveillance video leaning down and apparently kissing the boy’s neck on their way back to the hotel room. The boy is seen running back to the elevator about 30 minutes later.
The boy testified that in the hotel room bathroom, Alotaibi blocked the door, offered him $150 and then doubled the amount, and forced him into oral and anal sex.
A man who was traveling with Alotaibi testified that he knocked several times on the locked bathroom door while Alotaibi and the boy were inside, but they didn’t come out.
Bluth told the jury that Alotaibi wanted sex and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Alotaibi rejected a plea deal before trial that could have gotten him a possible sentence of probation or up to 80 years in prison for pleading guilty to two charges each of felony attempted sexual assault and attempted lewdness.
The boy testified last week that he was ‘freaked out’ and didn’t know how to escape when Alotaibi made sexual advances toward him before raping him.
‘It felt like I was trapped in a corner,’ the boy said about the encounter at Circus Circus, his voice growing so quiet as he recounted the details that attorneys repeatedly told him to speak up.
‘I was freaked out and I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know what to do.’
Saudi Arabia operates under Sharia, or Islamic law, and punishes homosexuality, or sodomy, with sentences of corporal and capital punishment.
Saudi law also bans the consumption of alcohol. Those found guilty of drinking liquor could face anything from several weeks to several months in jail.