Juneau man enters guilty plea in sex case involving teen

Originally facing 17 felony charges, man will spend 212 years behind bars

Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2004

A 49-year-old man facing 17 felony charges ranging from sexual abuse to child pornography has entered a plea agreement that could give him 2 1/2 years in prison for his relationship with a teenage girl.

Frederick L. Wigg, a former motor route carrier for the Juneau Empire, agreed last week to plead guilty to one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor.

The agreement calls for four years in prison with two years suspended on each charge. With all but six months of the sentences to be served at the same time, Wigg would see 2 1/2 years behind bars.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins scheduled sentencing for Feb. 26.

A grand jury indicted Wigg in June 2003 on three counts of second-degree sexual assault of a minor, seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and seven counts of possessing child pornography.

The sexual-abuse charges allege sexual activity with the girl before she turned 16. According to court records, the relationship began when the girl was 14.

The exploitation and pornography charges relate to seven sexually-oriented Polaroid snapshots Wigg allegedly took of the girl that were seized in May 2003 by officers serving a search warrant on his home.

In pretrial legal arguments, prosecuting and defense attorneys didn't dispute that the sexual activity between Wigg and the girl, now 18, was consensual.

The Empire is not releasing the name of the girl, who in June 2003 told a reporter that Wigg was her first love. She said she agreed to break off the secret affair until she turned 18 but contacted police and the Empire after finding out he was seeing another woman, according to court records.

Affidavits from Public Defender Chris Poag and a private investigator assert that the girl had contacted Wigg's attorney to say she was sorry she had reported Wigg to authorities, and she wished he could be released from jail.

Poag had asked the judge to dismiss the exploitation and pornography charges. Poag argued that the pictures were part of consensual sexual activity that took place after the girl was 16, which was after the period of the alleged sexual abuse.

Collins denied the motion, ruling that the state has an interest in preventing people younger than 18 from being able to consent to their sexual activity being photographed.

Under Alaska law, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor could carry prison sentences of up to 10 years. Possessing child pornography could carry a sentence of up to five years per count.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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