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Security officer helped stop sex assault in progress

Court documents reveal more about reported rape near State Office Building Saturday night

Posted: May 15, 2013 - 12:04am
Ernest H. Fawcett Jr., 38, appears in Juneau District Court for his arraignment for allegedly sexually assaulting a 51-year-old woman in Juneau on Saturday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Ernest H. Fawcett Jr., 38, appears in Juneau District Court for his arraignment for allegedly sexually assaulting a 51-year-old woman in Juneau on Saturday.

A State Office Building security officer interrupted a rape Saturday night and helped lead to the suspect’s arrest, according to new court documents.

An affidavit filed Monday says police located and detained the 38-year-old suspect, Ernest H. Fawcett Jr., just three and a half minutes after Security Officer James Shipley called 911.

Police said earlier they arrested Fawcett on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault, an unclassified felony, and took him to Lemon Creek Correctional Center. On Tuesday, Fawcett appeared in Juneau District Court where Judge Keith Levy continued his bail at $100,000.

According to the affidavit, Shipley heard yelling coming from the upper level of a side stairwell of the Fireweed Place building’s parking structure a little before 9 p.m. The structure is located in the 400 block of Willoughby Avenue near the State Office Building.

As Shipley approached closer to the stairwell from the east side, he could hear a female voice yelling, “No, no, no,” and when he got to the scene, he saw Fawcett on top of her, he told police in an interview, the affidavit states.

Shipley instructed Fawcett to leave and called 911 as Fawcett fled. Shipley reported it to police as a “possible sexual assault in progress” and reported that the suspect was running toward Bullwinkle’s Pizza, according to the affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams wrote that security footage from the stairwell captured Fawcett walking in the area wearing the same clothes as he was when he was arrested. Later, both Shipley and the victim positively identified Fawcett as the suspect, Williams wrote.

In an interview with police, the 51-year-old victim said she did now know Fawcett or his name. They had just met and were walking in the area of the State Office Building when they stopped for a moment to rest.

She told police that’s when Fawcett requested fellatio. She said she refused and began to walk away when Fawcett grabbed her and threw her down on the steps. She reported that he ripped off her clothes and raped her as she repeatedly told him to stop, to no avail, the affidavit states.

Juneau Police Department Sgt. Brian Dallas said in an earlier release that the woman was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital for evaluation and that she was later released.

Prosecutors requested the high bail amount, citing Fawcett’s criminal history which consists of 18 prior convictions including two felonies, as well as his lack of ties to the community which could prove to be a flight risk. Assistant Distric Attorney Amy Williams wrote that the state believes Fawcett resides in Metlakatla, not Juneau.

Fawcett is next slated to appear in Juneau court for a pre-indictment preliminary hearing on May 22. He is represented by the Assistant Public Defender Eric Hedland.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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