Opening Statements Begin in Pitsnogle Case

Opening statements began yesterday in Washoe District Court in the case of a Reno police officer charged with encouraging a teenager to undress in the back seat of his patrol car after he stopped her for a possible DUI.

Today the woman is expected to take the stand. Paul Pitsnogle pulled over the car the 17-year-old woman was driving on April third.

He said he suspected she was driving under the influence of alcohol. She admitted drinking beer and smoking some marijuana before a concert.

The girl told a grand jury that after Pitsnogle threatened her with an arrest, he began suggesting that he could be bribed. After placing her in the back seat of his patrol car, she testified that he told her they couldn't touch each other, so she undressed (while he masturbated).

The grand jury indicted Pitsnogle on one felony count of misconduct of an officer and a gross misdemeanor charge of open or gross lewdness.

Pitsnogle has denied the charges, and defense lawyer David Houston says the teen was trying to bribe the officer so he wouldn't arrest her.