Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens continued the sentencing hearing for Brian Todd Ervin on Tuesday after another person came forward and accused the former Juneau police officer of sexually abusing him.
With Ervin on stand, District Attorney David Brower asked him if he ever abused his half-brother.
“Did you ever sexually abuse him?” Brower asked.
“No, I did not,” Ervin responded.
“Would it surprise you to learn that he said you did?” Brower asked.
“It would surprise me,” Ervin replied.
Ervin, 39, was charged in the fall of 2010 with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for abusing a girl who is now 18. Those charges were dismissed in a plea deal reached with prosecutors. He pleaded no contest in August to one count of attempted interference with official proceedings. That charge stemmed from trying to contact the victim as the criminal matter was pending in court.
Outside the courtroom, Erik Ervin, 33, of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, told the Empire he was very young when the abuse began in the early 1980s, and that Brian, then a teenager, would stay over at the house on the weekends and for one summer. Another relative was also allegedly abused, Erik said.
“I knew it happened. I knew it was wrong. The details got more and more vivid the older I got,” he said. He also said Ervin couldn’t look him in the eye during the hearing.
Erik said he flew to Juneau to support Ervin’s accuser in court. He just learned of the charges against Ervin last week.
“He doesn’t need to be around kids. Period. There needs to be some sort of sex crime charge ... whether that means he’s locked up forever or he’s got some kind of strict guidelines when he does get out. He needs more than just a year or two to think about it.”
The Empire does not publish the names of victims of sexual abuse unless they give their consent, which Erik Ervin did.
Brian Ervin on Tuesday denied the allegations against him while under oath. He has denied the allegations ever since charges were brought.
“Your honor, I’m not a perfect man. I have made mistakes both as a father and as a son, but I have not sexually abused, touched or in any way been sexually inappropriate with any of my children or any child,” Ervin told the judge.
“The charges against me have been dismissed, as they should have been because I did not commit them. I’m innocent of those charges.”
Ervin gave the testimony to protest factual allegations contained in a pre-sentencing report (PSR) authored by a probation officer. Ervin’s defense attorney Julie Willoughby argued the report should be struck down because it was biased and because the report erroneously assumes there is a victim in this case.
Stephens disagreed, and denied Willoughby’s request to dismiss the PSR. He said that a probation officer is entitled to his or her own opinion, and the girl can be considered a victim in this case. He noted the PSR was a “legitimate factor” in deciding the sentence.
Since there was a testimonial denial in this case by Ervin, prosecutors bear the burden of proving the evidence of the crime is true. So prosecutors called the victim, who asked to be called “SAM,” to the stand to testify.
SAM testified she was abused “in the hundreds” of times beginning at age 10 and had never told anyone until her family moved to Juneau. On a Juneau beach, SAM said she admitted the abuse to a close friend.
The friend’s sister overheard a later phone conversation between the two, in which SAM worried she might be pregnant, and the concerned sister reported it to authorities.
When asked why she never told any one what was going on, SAM said, “I knew what would happen, and apparently everything that I thought would happen, happened. ... That I would lose everything, I knew my mother wouldn’t believe me.”
When a criminal investigation into the matter began, SAM said she was scared and nervous to admit to an adult about what had happened, but she said, “At the same time, I knew this was my one time, my one time to speak up, to try to make it stop. And you know, if I didn’t speak up, then anything that happened from that day on would pretty much be my fault. This was my one chance.”
Stephens scheduled the sentencing hearing to continue on Feb. 10. He said he could reject portions of the plea agreement that was reached in August.
“What’s happened today is that evidence was presented that I had not anticipated would be presented and is indication that there’s going to be additional testimony,” Stephens said. “Not only did I not anticipate it would be presented, but I just did not have any idea that it was out there. I want the parties to understand still that the possibility remains that the court could reject those two portions of the sentencing agreement: the time to serve and the probation condition restriction.”
The current plea agreement reached says there would be no conditions of probation prohibiting Ervin from contacting minors and that there would be no sex offense designation violation, meaning he would not be required to register as a sex offender.