State prosecutors were forced to drop a criminal case against a man accused of sexually assaulting a 78-year-old grandmother in Kake.
The case against Christopher E. Kadake, 49, was slated to go to a jury trial Tuesday, but prosecutors say they are unable to locate the victim, and had to dismiss the case.
“The state was unable to prosecute because it was unable to procure the victim,” Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp said.
Kemp added, “But for this, the state would have been able to continue to prosecute the case.”
As a general rule, victims and witnesses must be subject to cross-examination either before or during trial since a defendant always has a right to confront his or her accusers.
Although there are exceptions to the rule, if a victim is not subject to cross-examination, his or her statements are considered hearsay and are inadmissible at trial.
In this case, the grandmother testified at the grand jury proceedings, according to the indictment. But defense attorneys are not present during grand jury proceedings, and this victim was never subjected to cross-examination before she couldn’t be found.
Kemp did not disclose where the victim is thought to be, or why she wasn’t present for trial. But no other legal recourse was available, and the case was dismissed, Kemp said.
Kadake was facing two counts of first-degree sexual assault for knowingly engaging in sexual penetration with the victim without consent. That’s an unclassified felony. He was indicted by a grand jury in January.
He was also charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault for knowingly engaging in sexual contact without consent and one count of burglary for entering a dwelling unlawfully with intent to commit a crime. Those are also felonies.
According to a felony complaint filed by Alaska State Troopers, the victim’s daughter reported the incident to a village police safety officer in Kake on Jan. 1. The VPSO reported it to Troopers the next day, and Troopers proceeded to conduct an investigation.
The affidavit states the grandmother told police that she was staying at her daughter’s house in Kake on New Year’s Eve, and had laid down on the couch to rest while her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend went across the street to a friend’s house for a party.
She awoke to an unknown man sitting on the couch next to her, sexually assaulting her, the affidavit states. She told the man to stop, but she was unable to fight back due to her old age and a prior injury, the affidavit states.
As the incident was ongoing, the victim’s daughter and boyfriend returned to the residence and discovered the man there. The daughter, who told Troopers she recognized the man as Kadake, yelled at him and kicked him out of her house, the affidavit states. The daughter told Troopers he did not have permission to be there.
A phone listing for Kadake could not be found and residents with the same last name reached by phone declined to comment.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the victim’s granddaughter reported the incident to authorities. The victim’s daughter reported it.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.