Text message led to sex-abuse arrest of former Fairbanks troopers chief

Sam Friedman | Fairbanks News-Miner

FAIRBANKS -- A text message led to the sex abuse investigation and arrest of a former Fairbanks trooper captain last week.

The investigation against 75-year-old Warren M. Tanner started Thursday when the mother of his alleged victim reported finding evidence of sexual abuse on her teenage daughter's cellphone, according to the criminal complaint filed in court Friday against Tanner.

The charges allege Tanner touched the victim inappropriately from when she was 3 or 4 years old to when she was 11 or 12 years old, covering a period from approximately 2003 to 2011. Tanner retired in 1999 as the commander of D Detachment, an area extending from Healy to Tok to Barrow. He's a former Fort Wainwright provost marshal and statewide search-and-rescue coordinator.

The victim said most of the alleged abuse occurred at Tanner's house in his bedroom, according to the complaint. On one instance, she said, it occurred in Tanner's RV during a fishing trip to Valdez.

The victim's mother confronted Tanner on Friday about the alleged abuse. She said he admitted the abuse. He told her he would seek counseling because of the abuse but would not turn himself in to Alaska State Troopers, according to the complaint.

Troopers, with the help of the U.S. Marshal's Service Fugitive Task Force, arrested Tanner later Friday in North Pole. He is being held without bail on six charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

At his arraignment Saturday afternoon, Tanner said he would hire an attorney to represent him. Court records don't indicate whether an attorney has yet been hired.

Tanner's next court date is next week.

By Sam Friedman
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner