A 19-year-old charged last year with raping two women he met online is now accused of assaulting eight others, prosecutors announced Thursday.
A grand jury handed down a 24-count indictment Wednesday against Jim G. Persey alleging a series of sexual assaults beginning in June 2014 — when Persey was 16 — and ending with his arrest in April 2016, when a 20-year-old woman told police Persey raped her after they met through the dating app MeetMe.
After the Anchorage Police Department announced Persey's arrest on April 20, 2016, eight more women came forward to report that they'd been assaulted by Persey, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Law.
"The Special Victims Unit investigated these reports over the next several months, which led to this week's indictments," the statement said.
Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion said in an email that the other women — most of whom came forward shortly after Persey's arrest — were all peers of his from school.
An affidavit filed by police detective Chris Thomas said the 20-year-old woman came to APD on April 14, 2016, to report she had been sexually assaulted.
The woman said her encounter with Persey that day began as consensual sex they arranged through MeetMe but soon turned violent, as he struck her in the face, choked her until she blacked out and "presented a folding knife to her and threatened to stab her," according to the affidavit.
As Thomas was investigating the April 14 case, he learned of another suspected sexual assault involving Persey. In that case, a woman met Persey online in early January and told investigators they had also been engaged in a consensual relationship, which became violent when he raped her at his house in late March, the affidavit said.
Persey was originally charged with nine counts of assault and sexual assault in those cases.
Wednesday's grand jury indictment included 13 counts of first-degree sexual assault, each of which could carry a 99-year sentence, the Department of Law said.
Persey is being charged as an adult for all of the crimes in the indictment, though many are alleged to have taken place before he turned 18.
"…(I)f we have evidence to support that a 16 or 17 year old committed certain offenses, usually the most serious criminal offenses, we are required by Alaska's statutes to charge the offender as an adult," Campion wrote.
Persey was being held on $100,000 bail Thursday. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on the new charges Friday.
Authorities believe there may be other victims and are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Thomas at 907-786-8900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at the website or by calling 907-561-STOP.