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Founder of nonprofit mentoring group faces multiple sex assault charges

The founder and director of a Las Vegas nonprofit organization that mentors boys through skateboarding has been arrested and faces multiple charges of sex assault and lewdness involving a female family member.

Hector David Esparza, 40, was arrested April 6 in connection with 11 incidents of lewdness and sexual assault with a female relative between January 2011 and December 2014. Esparza’s attorney, Frederick Santacroce, said all of the charges involve the same female, who was 15 years old when some of the alleged acts took place.

A criminal complaint filed by the district attorney’s office accused Esparza of having sex with the female “against her will” or in circumstances in which Esparza knew she was “mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding” the nature of his conduct. The three sex assaults happened between January 2012 and December 2014, the complaint said.

Esparza was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on April 6 without bail. He faces three felony charges of sex assault and eight misdemeanor charges of open and gross lewdness, inmate logs show.

According to public salary records, Esparza was employed as a program assistant for the county from 2008 to 2012. His regular pay in 2011 was $15,900.

Esparza, who spells his name “Hektor” on his organization’s website, created Push Forward as a “way to bring empowering knowledge and experiences to youth who have already devoted themselves to skateboarding,” the site shows. In the program, teams of young skateboarders meet weekly with an adult skateboarder who is working in a creative field or has expertise in an art or craft.

The phone number listed on the program’s website went unanswered Wednesday, and the Instagram account listed on the group’s website had been deactivated.

“Goodbye PushForward,” the organization wrote on its Facebook page March 31. “Take the knowledge you learned and apply it in life, grow and become something Great!”

Esparza also worked as a youth services specialist for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada in 2014 and 2015. He resigned in June 2015, the center’s CEO, Michael Dimengo, said.

Esparza pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in his initial appearance Monday, Santacroce said. His preliminary hearing is scheduled April 25.

Contact Kimber Laux at klaux@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Find her on Twitter: @lauxkimber

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