LAS VEGAS – A sergeant in Saudi Arabia's air force was jailed in Las Vegas on charges that he pulled a young boy into a hotel room and sexually assaulted him the morning of Sin City's big New Year's Eve fireworks extravaganza.
Mazen Alotaibi, 23, faces charges including kidnapping, sexual assault with a minor and felony coercion that could get him decades in state prison, according to police and charging documents obtained Friday.
The boy, who is younger than 14, told police the man forced him into a room at the Circus Circus hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and raped him. Police arrested Alotaibi after being called to the hotel before 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 31.
"There was a kidnapping and sexual assault with force," Las Vegas police Lt. Dan McGrath said. "The victim said he was forced into the room and sexually assaulted. We have a strong case based on the evidence."
The boy, who lives out of state, was staying at the hotel with his family, McGrath said. He was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment and evidence collection and released later to family members. His name was not made public.
McGrath said Alotaibi produced a Saudi Arabian military identification and said he was stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland near San Antonio, Texas. U.S. federal authorities and Saudi military officials were notified, the police lieutenant said.
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland spokesman Brent Boller told The Associated Press that records showed Alotaibi is currently stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Boller said he could not immediately verify if Alotaibi had been at Lackland, but noted that international military students attend a Defense Language Institute English Language Center on the base to improve their English-language skills.
Alotaibi's lawyer, Don Chairez of Newport Beach, California, said Friday he had been in contact with U.S. military authorities at both air force bases and with the Saudi government. He said Alotaibi had come to Las Vegas for the New Year's celebration, and will plead not guilty.
Alotaibi also is charged with burglary, which in Nevada can stem from a person entering a building with intent to commit a felony.
The alleged attack took place on the sixth floor of a 15-story hotel tower. Circus Circus has a total of 3,767 guest rooms in three towers and five three-story motor lodge-style buildings dubbed Circus Circus Manor.
The arrest was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It cited a police report saying the boy was 13.
Alotaibi was being held without bail at the Clark County jail pending an evidence hearing Jan. 17.