Visalia officer pleads not guilty to alleged sex crimes at Elks Lodge

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At an arraignment hearing on Wednesday, Fresno attorney Roger Wilson entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client, Visalia police officer Scott Nelson.

Nelson, 49, is charged with three misdemeanors-two counts of sexual battery and one count of battery, for allegedly groping a woman inside a members-only bar at the Visalia Elks Lodge last August.

"Based on my discussions with officer Nelson and what I do know about the case, I believe that it will probably go to trial unless the district attorney and I can reach some sort of resolution that is acceptable to everyone, including officer Nelson," Wilson said.

Wilson says he's still waiting to see the police reports in the case.

Action News previously obtained a Visalia Police Department internal affairs report, which included a summary of an interview with the alleged victim.

She told police she thought Nelson inappropriately touched her at least five times over a two-hour period, at one point grabbing her breasts.

"(She) advised she did report the incident and the Elks Lodge conducted an investigation," the report says. "She stated after the investigation Scott Nelson was suspended for thirty days. (She) went on to state she did not feel Scott received the appropriate discipline based on what occurred and because of this she contacted the police department and filed a complaint."

A criminal investigation followed the internal affairs investigation.

But police say they struggled to get the victim to cooperate, so submitted the case to Tulare County prosecutors, who ultimately filed the misdemeanor case against Nelson this July.

He's currently on administrative leave from the police department.

"I have spoken to him," Wilson said. "I have reviewed some information related to his work at the Visalia Police Department and again apparently he's a very fine officer with a good reputation."

Nelson's next court date is November 12th.

He'll remain out of custody.
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