Man sentenced for sexual abuse of 10 year old: Francis Anthony Pete Jr. was sentenced Friday in Anchorage Superior Court to 15 years with three suspended and 10 years of probation for sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl. It was maximum sentence the 30-year-old could receive under the state’s presumptive range for second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Assistant district attorney Jenna Gruenstein said the court imposed the state’s requested sentence. The charges say Pete’s significant other found him naked and under bed covers inappropriately touching the victim. The couple got into an argument and Pete fled the home, grabbing the woman’s cellphone in the process, according to the charges. The woman “was able to get in touch with a friend via Facebook and the friend called police on her behalf,” the charges say. Officers responded to the couple’s home and found Pete hiding in a shed.The defendant eventually told police he sexually abused the victim six times. When detectives interviewed the girl, she was reluctant to talk; she would only say that “something had come into her room,” the charges say. A grand jury handed up an indictment charging Pete with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse of minor and four counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor in February 2012, according to online court records. In November, Gruenstein said the court granted a defense motion and dismissed the first degree counts. The state had fought the motion, she said. Still, Superior Court Judge Jack Smith found the case qualified for a “worse offense” within the presumptive range for the lesser charges, which were merged for sentencing, and imposed the max sentence under the law. Pete’s probation conditions require he enroll in sex offender treatment and adhere to special monitoring by a sex offender probation unit. He is also required to register as a sex offender for 15 years following his release.
Stanford student from Juneau pursues sex assault justice: Leah Francis -- a former Juneau-Douglas High School distance running champion, according to KTOO radio -- is leading a charge against the way Stanford University handles allegations of rape after a fellow student who the university found had indeed sexually assaulted her received little more than a slap on the wrist. Through Stanford’s internal adjudication process, a panel recommended 40 hours of community work service, a sexual assault awareness class and a five-quarter suspension, according to university documents available on The Stanford Daily. Francis told KTOO that the suspension won’t take effect until summer, and the man will supposedly be able to graduate and return for grad school if he wishes. She’s been spreading her call for change through social media using the hashtag #StandWithLeah. On Thursday, Francis led hundreds of students in a rally and protest to raise awareness and demand change to the university’s policies, according to numerous national media outlets that have picked up the story. Francis told her hometown public radio station that a criminal case against her alleged rapist is being handled by the Juneau Police Department; the incident happened in Juneau on New Year’s Day.
Scientists release camera footage with a polar bear point-of-view: Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey have released video footage taken from cameras attached to wild polar bears in Northern Alaska. The USGS put cameras on four female polar bears they found on Beaufort Sea ice, north of Prudhoe Bay, in April. The cameras captured the animals jumping into the ocean, chasing and eating seals, and meeting prospective mates. The USGS said it hopes to use the video, as part of the agency's Changing Arctic Ecosystems initiative, to better understand how melting sea ice is affecting the bears by matching the video showing their specific activities with satellite global positioning data.
Wasilla teen flees troopers, lands in jail: A Wasilla man was in jail early Friday morning after leading police on a chase just days after he was apprehended by a homeowner during a theft and subsequently arrested, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers said 18-year-old Colton Renfro, of Wasilla, fled from an attempted traffic stop at 2:10 a.m. Friday at speeds of up to 80 mph (including through a Highway Work Zone) before troopers were able to box him in on Lucas Road, near its intersection with the Parks Highway. Renfro then fled on foot, but was quickly caught by officers, whereupon he physically resisted arrest, troopers said. He was charged with felony eluding, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest. Renfro was charged last week with first-degree criminal trespass, third-degree theft, fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon, driving with a suspended license, and violating conditions of release after he and an accomplice were caught Wednesday evening by a returning homeowner trying to steal vehicle parts and held at gunpoint until police arrived.
Senate candidate Dan Sullivan says not holding elected office helps him: Republican Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan sat for a short interview with political site Roll Call, which posted video excerpts Friday. The video is one in a series Roll Call has made of challengers for seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Sullivan said he believed his lack of experience seeking elected office -- he’s held appointed posts, including commissioner of Natural Resources and attorney general, but never run for office before -- is an asset in this year’s race, perhaps a dig at primary opponent Mead Treadwell, Alaska’s current lieutenant governor, as much as incumbent Sen. Mark Begich. Treadwell sat for a Roll Call interview last fall.
Inventories play havoc with Copper River roe prices in Japan: In part because of higher-than-usual frozen inventories, prices for fresh sockeye salmon roe have dropped in Japanese markets, reports fishing industry site Undercurrent News. Prices are nearing low enough levels that shipments by air may no longer prove profitable. The report also mentioned that Japanese companies, expecting earlier than usual returns in Kodiak and Bristol Bay, have diverted some technicians to those places and away from the Copper River.
Alaska Airlines enjoyed good May numbers: Despite a pitched battle with sometime partner Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines added both capacity and passengers last month, says a report from the Tacoma News-Tribune. The piece noted that Alaska is adding “larger planes and … refitting its existing fleet with new seats.” It’s managed such growth while continuing to match its industry-leading on-time numbers of about 90 percent, the report noted.