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Alaska editorial: Murkowski right on Allen case

Posted: March 23, 2012 - 12:04am

This editorial first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski isn’t taking “I don’t know” for an answer.

She asked the same questions of FBI Director Robert Mueller earlier this month that she’s asked of Attorney General Eric Holder and others at the Department of Justice.

Why did the federal government drop the sex crimes case against former Veco chief Bill Allen? Why did the federal government refuse to allow the state of Alaska to pursue the case? What was the thinking?

Alaskans still haven’t gotten a straight answer.

Allen’s relationship with an Alaska Native teen that she said began when she was 15 was thoroughly investigated. Anchorage police, at least one federal prosecutor and state officials believed there was a case to be made under the Mann Act, the federal law that prohibits the transportation of minors across state lines for sex.

No case was brought. Holder and others have said no deal was made with Allen to let the sex case go in return for testimony against Sen. Ted Stevens and others in the Alaska political scandal.

But the Justice Department still has not justified its decision to drop the case.

As Murkowski told Mueller, this sends an awful message to young Alaska women — and all young women. If the predator in your life is rich and powerful, your chance for justice is slight. If the predator has something the prosecution wants, you may find yourself a pawn in what officialdom considers the bigger game. Our young women are not pawns. Sexual abuse and trafficking is no game, and the defense of Alaska’s young women and men isn’t negotiable.

That’s the message Justice needs to send, but it’s not happening. Sen. Murkowski should keep pressing until real answers are forthcoming.

Justice still hasn’t explained its refusal to pursue the sex crime case against Allen.

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