A 49-year-old woman pleaded guilty in Anchorage Friday to a single count of coercion after a jury couldn't make a unanimous decision last year as to whether or not she sexually abused a minor, stemming from allegations that she inappropriately touched a 12-year-old boy when she was drunk.
Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton will decide Kimberly Ann Mockta's sentence. She faces up to five years in jail and a $50,000 fine for the charge. She's also agreed to enroll in a residential substance abuse program that lasts no less than six months.
Alaska leads the nation in sexual assault and rape. More than half of Alaska women have experienced violence with an intimate partner, sexual violence, or both. Alaska children are often victims of sexual abuse, too. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Alaska children are six times more likely to be sexually assaulted when compared to the rest of the nation.
But advocacy groups have reported child sex abuse isn't usually an overtly violent act. It is more typically a gradual process of grooming a relationship between the child and abuser over time, like the case of a 33-year-old Anchorage man who conditioned his 7-year-old stepdaughter for sexual contact. He started with porn, then moved on to touching and finally to penetration.
Alcohol is a major issue statewide, from larger cities where booze prevents chronic users from maintaining roofs over their heads to remote Bush communities where alcohol-laden domestic disputes send parents out of the villages to jail, only to have those with problems return to home when there are no other options. The newest state-produced statistics say an estimated 21,000 Alaskans age 12 and older are dependent upon alcohol
According to a charging document, the boy's father had called upon Mockta to help with his kids after suffering a work-related injury. She allegedly showed up drunk at his house around 10 p.m. on April 22, 2012. Mockta was supposed to help out with the victim and at least two other children the following school morning, the father told police, and he figured she'd "pass out" and get it together in time to lend a hand.
Mockta fell asleep on the floor between the victim and the boy's 7-year-old sister. The boy awoke to Mockta rubbing his privates underneath his clothing, he later told an Anchorage Police Department detective with the Crimes Against Children Unit. The boy also said Mockta made him touch her breast.
The 12-year-old went downstairs and told his brother he was going to sleep but 10 minutes later started crying, allegedly telling the sibling what happened. The father found the boy crying and learned about the inappropriate touching, the affidavit says. The father allegedly threw Mockta out of the house.
The father agreed to help police by calling Mockta in the presence of officers. Mockta allegedly admitted to touching the boy, and when asked if she did it because she'd been drunk, she responded, "Of course 'cause I was drunk … I don't … barely remember anything," the affidavit says. During later calls, Mockta said she was "afraid and embarrassed," admitted she'd touched the boy and apologized repeatedly.
Although Mockta told police during subsequent interviews she couldn't recall touching the boy, she said she drank a pint of vodka before heading over to the victim's home. She said she frequently "blacks out" after drinking alcohol, the affidavit says.
Two charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor were handed down in July 2012. But when the case went to trial, not all of the jurors were convinced the woman was guilty, resulting in a mistrial, said Assistant District Attorney Paul Miovas.
The state wrote up its coercion charge Friday. Mockta, who attended court in a dress blouse and held her composure throughout the hearing, said she understood the seriousness of pleading guilty. In essence, Mockta is admitting she compelled her victim to do something illegal, and the boy was in danger of physical injury if he didn't do so, according to the law's language.
Her sentencing is set for May 30 in Anchorage.