Lots of news for January, starting with a major case which got dismissed in Dillingham. Wesley Richard graduated recently from Minnesota, where he was a five year member of the highly regarded wrestling team. He returned to his home in Dillingham, where he volunteered as a wrestling coach and also did some sub teaching while he contemplated grad school. At the local library one day a young lady contacted him by Facebook and invited him to visit her that night. On her Facebook she listed herself as a 2010 graduate of Dillingham High school, and married. Wesley accepted the invitation and spent a few minutes alone with the young lady until she announced that she was looking forward to her 17th birthday. With that, Wesley quickly departed. The encounter was very brief, and both parties remained fully clothed the whole time.
Things went downhill from there. The lady mentioned the visit to her friends, and embellished the details. Word got around, and her parents intervened. The police were notified and they listened in while the father called Wesley. He apologized for being involved with the young lady, but denied that anything illegal had happened. He also denied that he had taught her in school before the incident. Regardless, the police charged him with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, alleging sexual penetration of a person under 16 by a person in a position of authority. The case never went to the grand jury, and was dismissed recently. Wesley will now try to put his life back together. This was a poorly investigated case, that should never have been filed. Records existed that disputed each fact alleged in the complaint. Those records, found at the school and on Facebook, cleared Wesley but had they not existed, he was looking at an unclassified felony with a 99 year maximum sentence, with a presumptive 20-30 year minimum term. Ouch.
Another Dillingham case involving the Igushik Bay oil spill was removed to Federal court in Anchorage by the defendants. The case was originally filed in state court, but not surprisingly the out-of-state defendants would prefer to have an Anchorage jury decide the case, instead of local residents near the area of the spill.
On the subject of fish, this article talks about the politics of high seas fishing, and what that means for a few folks with access to the money generated by that fishery.