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Allen unlikely to face child sex abuse charge

Lisa Demer

An effort by state prosecutors to pursue a case against former Veco Corp. chief Bill Allen on allegations of child sexual abuse has ended with no charges, the state's top prosecutor said Monday.

Richard Svobodny, the state's deputy attorney general over criminal matters, said that unless new information materializes -- or there's a prosecution on federal charges -- the matter is essentially closed.

Prosecutors evaluated allegations involving five or so teenage girls but weren't able to corroborate that any of them had sex with Allen at age 15 or younger, Svobodny said. In Alaska, the age for consensual sex is generally 16 unless the accused abuser is in a position of authority, like a teacher or priest, and Allen was not.

One of Allen's accusers was a young woman who said she first met Allen when she was working as a 15-year-old prostitute in Spenard. In interviews with FBI agents, Anchorage police and prosecutors, she described how Allen flew her multiple times from Seattle to Anchorage for sex when she was 16.

The federal Mann Act makes it a felony to bring someone across state lines for prostitution and has enhanced penalties when the victim is a minor. There is no similar state crime.

After top officials in the U.S. Justice Department in 2010 vetoed a federal prosecution of Allen under the Mann Act, state prosecutors opened their own review.

Svobodny wrote to federal prosecutors in November 2010 asking for FBI records on the matter and offering to take on the federal case. A state prosecutor can be designated to handle a specific federal case or group of cases.

When the offer was refused, Svobodny met with federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., to make the plea in person.

"We reiterated that we were volunteering to go forward with the federal prosecution and they said they had a determination they were not going to cross-designate us to do that," Svobodny said.

Allen, now 74, was a key government witness for the prosecution in a string of federal corruption cases. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to bribing state lawmakers and was given a three-year sentence.

Federal prosecutors have never stated publicly why they dropped the Allen case. Svobodny said they alluded to the fact he had been convicted and sentenced on another crime.

Allen is scheduled to be released from federal custody today.

Reach Lisa Demer at ldemer@adn.com or 257-4390.


By LISA DEMER
Anchorage Daily News