Crime & Courts

$200,000 bail set for Soldotna trooper accused of sexually abusing children

A Soldotna-based Alaska state trooper is being held on $200,000 bail after he was arrested Wednesday on seven charges of sexual abuse of a minor.

Benjamin Strachan, 39, was charged with one count of first-degree and six counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case, Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell said Wednesday. The leave is unpaid, Strachan said during an arraignment hearing Thursday morning in Kenai.

A minor reported to the Kenai Police Department on Saturday night that Strachan had sexually abused her in February, according to an affidavit filed by Investigator Shannon Fore of the troopers. The case was referred to the troopers, with the Wasilla Child Abuse Investigation Unit handling the investigation since he was assigned to the Soldotna post, the affidavit said.

During the investigation, troopers determined Strachan had sexually abused two minor victims, one of whom he repeatedly abused, the affidavit said. He did not come into contact with the victims through his job as a trooper, Cockrell said.

Strachan has been a trooper since June 2020 and has been assigned to Soldotna since then. He had no prior law enforcement experience, Cockrell said. Cockrell also said no special consideration was given to Strachan because of his job and the case was handled the same as it would be for any similar allegation.

Strachan was assigned to the public defender’s office Thursday and is being held at the Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai.

Troopers have asked anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Strachan or has information that could help the investigation to contact the Soldotna office at 907-262-4453.