Jury being picked in child-molestation case

Megan Holland

Jury selection is under way in the trial of a former Anchorage police officer accused of molesting his daughter.

Sammy Cohen, 55, is also charged with possessing child pornography.

Cohen was a veteran officer teaching at the police academy when he was arrested in 2005, sending shock waves throughout the department. Investigators say he had child pornography on his computer and that subsequent investigation showed he abused his daughter.

Cohen has denied the charges.

After he was charged, Cohen was put on administrative leave from the department. He is no longer a police officer or employee of the department, according to a police spokesman.

Cohen has been out on bail since November 2008 but spent more than two years in jail awaiting his first trial, which almost happened in March 2008. It was declared a mistrial shortly after a jury had been chosen. At the time prosecutors had been unable to find the victim. When she turned up at the last minute, her availability changed how Cohen's lawyer planned to defend his client, necessitating a delay.

The charging documents in the case say Cohen abused his daughter when she was 12 to 14 years old, including taking inappropriate pictures of her. She left Alaska with Cohen's ex-wife after the pair divorced.

Cohen's daughter is now an adult.

Opening statements in the trial are expected early next week, said prosecutor John Skidmore.

Another Anchorage police officer was recently arrested on felony sex charges. Anthony Rollins, now suspended from the force, was accused in July of sexually assaulting six women over a span of three years. He says he's not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Find Megan Holland online at adn.com/contact/mholland or call 257-4343.