Crime & Courts

Bill Allen responds to lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted a minor

Former Veco boss Bill Allen admitted in a recent court filing that he had a paid sexual relationship with a teenage girl but says the girl told him she was 19 years old when the relationship began, not 15, as she has asserted in a lawsuit filed against him.

Paula Roberds sued Allen about a year ago, accusing him of sex assault, sexual abuse of a minor and inflicting emotional distress.

Allen and his oil field services company became key players in an Alaska political corruption scandal that played out in the mid-2000s. Allen was the central government witness following his guilty plea on bribery charges in 2007. Some defense attorneys of indicted Alaska public officials questioned whether federal authorities secured Allen's cooperation by promising not to prosecute him on sex charges, but prosecutors denied there was a connection.

Allen's alleged relationship with Roberds surfaced in 2008, and federal prosecutors said they were considering charges two years later. He faced accusations that he had sex with multiple underage girls; Roberds' case came closest to being prosecuted.

Lawyers for Roberds said she was walking a street in Spenard as a 15-year-old prostitute when she met Allen in 1999. The two carried on a relationship until she was 17 or 18, according to the original complaint.

In a response to the lawsuit filed May 19, attorneys for Allen argue Roberds said she was 19 when the two first met.

Additionally, they say the teenager asked Allen "to be one of her customers," according to the response.

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That claim opposes Roberds' assertion that Allen approached her, and specifically sought her out because she was young and vulnerable.

"I'm not surprised that Bill Allen is refusing to admit culpability, but the evidence will show that he knew he was sexually assaulting a minor," Phillip Weidner, Roberds' attorney, said Thursday.

Allen denies the majority of Roberds' accusations. Among his arguments, Allen said any damages to Roberds were the result of others' negligence or actions, not his own.

Allen's response to the lawsuit comes after Weidner's office got the OK from an Anchorage judge to serve Allen with the lawsuit through classified newspaper ads and notices on the Alaska Court System website, when they were unable to locate Allen.

Attorneys tried serving papers against Allen in Alaska and sent legal documents to him in Colorado, New Mexico and Washington state, where Allen's three children live.

Allen is asking the court to dismiss the case with prejudice. A court hearing hasn't been scheduled in the case.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.

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