Crime & Courts

State drops sex assault charges against Alaska Regional Hospital security guard

State prosecutors have dropped two sexual assault charges against John Giacalone, an Alaska Regional Hospital security guard who was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl who'd been alone in the hospital's emergency department waiting room.

In mid-July, the 56-year-old hospital guard and forensic scientist at the state's Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory was arrested on two charges, first- and second-degree sexual assault.

Anchorage police investigated the alleged sex assault, and the city's district attorney's office initially determined there was probable cause based on the evidence.

However, after reviewing new evidence from a subsequent investigation, the prosecutors "concluded that in light of all available evidence, there exists substantial doubt as to what occurred on the night in question," according to a district attorney's office news release.

Assistant District Attorney Jenna Gruenstein said she could not get into specifics about the investigation but contended the initial charges were based on "limited information" that was later called into question.

The girl told police she'd been sleeping in the hospital's waiting room and fell asleep. Giacalone woke her up and led her to an office, then sexually assaulted the teen, according to the dropped charges.

When asked if prosecutors believed Giacalone did not commit the crime, Gruenstein said, "We were not able to make that determination. We've done substantial investigation, and I can't say that it did not happen."


An Alaska Regional spokesperson said the hospital has "confidence in the investigative process."

"We are relieved that the thorough investigation resulted in the dismissal of all charges," said Kjerstin Lastufka.

On Aug. 15, the state reduced Giacalone's bail from $500,000 to $100,000, according to online court records. He posted the bond and was released with an ankle monitor for a week, the prosecutor said.

With the dropping of all charges, he no longer must wear the monitor.

Jerzy Shedlock

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