Crime & Courts

Alaska’s former acting attorney general pleads not guilty to sex abuse charges

clyde sniffen, ed sniffen

Alaska’s former acting attorney general entered not guilty pleas to three felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor during a brief hearing in Anchorage Superior Court on Monday.

Clyde “Ed” Sniffen, 58, was first charged in May and indicted on the same charges last week.

The charges followed a state investigation launched in early 2021 after the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica reported on allegations that Sniffen had sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached on an Anchorage high school mock trial team in 1991. Sniffen was 27 at the time.

The age of consent in Alaska is generally 16, but law dictates that it is illegal for an adult to have sex with a 16 or 17 year old whom they are teaching, counseling or coaching.

Sniffen resigned from his role as acting attorney general as the accusations were about to become public. His predecessor, former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, had also resigned after reports of sexual misconduct became public in 2020.

Sniffen participated in Monday’s hearing by phone and said little. His attorney, Jeffrey Robinson, entered not guilty pleas to all three felony charges on his behalf before Anchorage Superior Court Judge William Morse.

Sniffen’s next court appearance is in early November. He is not currently incarcerated. The conditions of Sniffen’s release were not immediately available from special prosecutor Gregg Olson on Monday.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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