Washoe County Judge Gives Liberace’s Former Lover Second Chance

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Updated: 7/18/2013 3:27 pm
 The man known as Liberace’s former lover, Scott Thorson, appeared before Washoe County District Court Judge Patrick Flanagan Wednesday for sentencing.

Thorson pleaded guilty to burglary and identity theft charges after he found a California man’s wallet in a rental car company’s parking lot in February and used the victim’s credit cards and ID to make over $1,400 in purchases, including a room at the Ponderosa Hotel under the alias, Jess Marlow.

Thorson was facing up to 20 years in prison.

While in custody, HBO premiered a movie, "Behind the Candelabra," derived from the biography written by Thorson depicting his life and love affair with performer Valentino Liberace.

After serving 87 days in jail, Thorson’s bail was posted by Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch near Carson City, after Hof was approached by several girls at the Ranch who saw the film and wanted to help Thorson.

Hof contacted attorney David Houston to represent Thorson at sentencing.

During the proceedings, Houston addressed Flanagan, outlining the steps Thorson has taken since being bailed out, including drug treatment, mental health counseling and weekly drug tests.

Prosecutors agreed with Houston, indicating Thorson’s best interest were served in treatment, not prison.

However, the victim in the case testified he wanted to see Thorson head back to prison until Thorson realizes he’s, “Not a celebrity.”

Judge Flanagan ruled Thorson serve 60 months of probation and successfully complete treatment through the Washoe County Drug Court.  He was also ordered to pay over $1,400 in restitution to the victim as well as court fees; a 28-year prison sentence was suspended.

“I will change and I will succeed,” Thorson said after proceedings concluded.  “Take one day at a time and, again, I want to apologize to the victim.  Wow, I’m glad he showed up because I really understand the devastation this man went through.”

Flanagan reminded Thorson of the One Judge, One Defendant rule in Washoe County.

“If you’re ever charged with another crime in this county, you will go before me and I better never see you in this courtroom again,” Flanagan concluded.

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