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Jill Burke

Armed with new information provided by the Alaska National Guard, the Anchorage Police Department is considering opening new cases.

“There is potential that new sexual assault investigations could be opened as a result. We are evaluating the new information now,” Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said in an email to Alaska Dispatch News.

The new investigations would be in addition to approximately 20 previous sexual assault cases involving guard members that police have checked into since 2009, Mew said. The connection of a guard member or members to each case was either as a victim or as the accused.

Of the 20 cases, three have been referred to state prosecutors, Mew said...

Jill Burke

Two weeks after they were fired and almost immediately unfired, the Alaska National Guard announced that two officers have been fired again, along with a third.

In a statement sent to reporters at 6:30 p.m. Monday, the guard said that Brig. Gen. Catherine Jorgensen was removed from her post as Army Guard chief of staff and that Col. Edith Grunwald lost her job as director of human resources for the Alaska National Guard, the second time their departures were announced this month.

An Air Guard general, Brig. Gen. Donald Wenke, lost his job as commander of the 176th Wing, the guard said...

Richard Mauer,Jill Burke

The Alaska Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion, a unit with access to high school students around the state and a budget to attend or sponsor popular outdoor events, has been, for years, a center of repeated sexual misconduct among its officers, according to investigative files...

Richard Mauer,Jill Burke

One of the Alaska Senate’s leaders, Anchorage Republican Lesil McGuire, says the Legislature has a role to play in repairing the Alaska National Guard.

“You can expect to hear more from the Senate,” McGuire said in a phone interview this week. “I am ultimately going to hold hearings and I am going to call for a special investigator.”...

Jill Burke

At least one allegation lodged against former Alaska National Guardsman Col. Timothy DeHaas appears to have been unfounded.

In 2009, Alaska State Troopers investigated a complaint about DeHaas, who served as chief of staff for the Alaska Army National Guard, and another individual using a guard helicopter to go hunting. Troopers closed the case after finding no proof DeHaas had broken the law, according to Megan Peters, a public information officer with the Alaska Department of Public Safety...

Jill Burke

Alaska Dispatch News sued Gov. Sean Parnell on Wednesday, asking a judge to force the governor’s office to release public records related to the ongoing scandal within the Alaska National Guard.

The news organization, along with its co-plaintiff Alaska Public Media, claims the governor’s office has been wrongly denying public records requests that could help voters verify whether Parnell acted swiftly in dealing with numerous allegations about mishandled sexual assaults, harassment, fraud, favoritism and other misconduct, including abuse of power, within the guard over the past several years...

Jill Burke

Just days after undoing a major staffing decision by the Alaska National Guard’s interim adjutant general, Gov. Sean Parnell is standing by his appointee to guide the guard during its transition out of scandal and low morale and into new leadership.

“General (Mike) Bridges has full command authority related to guard operations,” Parnell said in an interview Monday.

Brig. Gen. Bridges is acting adjutant general, a position held by Brig. Gen. Thomas Kaktus until Katkus’ resignation last month at the governor’s request.

Amid a scandal that involves sexual and other misconduct, alleged fraud and favoritism, Parnell had promised that more guard officials would be fired. But on Thursday, when Bridges took action, Parnell quickly reversed it...

Jill Burke

The general on loan to Alaska to spearhead complex reforms in the Alaska National Guard said he and his team will stay on the job as long as it takes.

“It’s going to take time to get right. But it has to get right,” Brig. Gen. John Mott, assistant adjutant general for the Air National Guard in Connecticut, said after his first week acclimating to Alaska and the task ahead. “We are not here to investigate. We are here to implement the recommendations.”...

Jill Burke

Gov. Sean Parnell defended his actions in response to complaints and concerns about the Alaska National Guard, asserting at a news conference Thursday that he took action often and over many years.

Meeting with reporters at his Anchorage office, Parnell sought to dispel what he called “false and misleading” statements about his responsiveness to information he received during his tenure regarding the guard and its senior officials.

“Every time I heard an allegation, every time I got an allegation or my office did, we investigated that with guard leadership,” Parnell said even as he acknowledged the same leadership turned out to be the cause of some of the guard's biggest problems...

Jill Burke,Richard Mauer

As the Alaska National Guard sexual misconduct and leadership scandal evolves into a major issue in his re-election bid, Gov. Sean Parnell is confronting two key questions: When did he learn about problems in the guard, and did he respond effectively?

The record shows that Parnell took nearly his entire four-year term to remove officials at the top of the guard and its related civilian department.

Parnell, officially the guard’s civilian commander, has acknowledged receiving complaints about deeply entrenched problems within guard leadership starting in 2010, but he said they lacked specifics.

The problems didn’t go away. More than three years later, on Feb. 28, Parnell called for help from the Pentagon...

Richard Mauer,Jill Burke

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