Special report: A first-of-its-kind investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found more than 70 Alaska communities — places with some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the U.S. — have no local police protection.
Dozens of convicted criminals have been hired as cops in rural Alaska. Sometimes, they’re the only applicants.
In one village, every cop has been convicted of domestic violence within the past decade, including the chief. Only one has received formal law enforcement training of any kind.
Days before his death in 2005, Simeon Askoak told officials how a key Alaska rural policing program was broken. His village hasn’t had another permanent cop since.
She leapt from a van on the Kenai Peninsula to escape her rapist. Then she waited 18 years for an arrest.
Anna Sattler’s rape kit sat untested for almost 20 years as Alaska’s backlog got worse. Now, an ex-Iditarod musher faces charges, and she’s speaking publicly about the attack for the first time.
Many remote Alaska villages have no law enforcement at all. But state troopers can be found in some wealthier, mainly non-Native suburbs, where growing communities have resisted paying for their own police departments.
By Adriana Gallardo, Nadia Sussman and Agnes Chang, ProPublica, and Kyle Hopkins and Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News || Photography by Anne Raup, Loren Holmes and Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News || Editing: David Hulen and Anne Raup, Anchorage Daily News, and Charles Ornstein and Ariana Tobin, ProPublica.
Alaska requires that DNA be collected from people arrested for violent crimes. Many police agencies have ignored that.
By failing to collect those DNA samples, law enforcement has left Alaska’s DNA database with crucial gaps, allowing at least one serial rapist to go undetected.
First of two parts: In the state with the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation, testing the backlog of rape kits may not be enough. Many were from cases where the identity of the suspect was already known, or were opened only to find no usable DNA.
More than 30 years after telling a teacher that her stepfather was molesting her, Sherri Stewart is running out of time to understand why he remained free, and why she was sent back to endure more harm.
In 2018, Jody Potts was the target of misconduct from then-Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. He resigned two days later, but the details of what happened have never been publicly told until now.
In an isolated and sparsely populated region of Alaska, there were five domestic violence homicides in 10 days. The pandemic has limited emergency services, and without shelters, many say, these deaths are no surprise.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy pledged to add state troopers to villages off the road system. Two years later, many communities are still waiting. “I’m very disappointed, obviously,” one village president said.
As scandals force Alaska politicians to resign, nowhere have the accusations been more severe than a remote rural district where male leaders are proving to be part of the very problems they’re supposed to be solving.