Man in sex case pleads guilty to lesser crime

Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Nearly eight months after a jury deadlocked on seven felony charges against a Juneau man alleged to have had sexual activity with two 15-year-old girls, the case has been resolved with a misdemeanor sentence.

Michael L. Roberts, 36, facing the most serious charge of first-degree sexual assault, agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Prosecutors also dismissed six felony counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, following Roberts' plea agreement.

On Monday, Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks sentenced Roberts to 45 days in jail - 125 days with 80 days suspended - and placed him on probation for 10 years.

The original charges came from two indictments handed down by a grand jury in December 2000. One accused Roberts of first-degree sexual assault in May 2002 against a girl, then 15, without her consent.

The same indictment also charged Roberts with two of the six counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and alleged he contributed to her delinquency by encouraging her to use a controlled substance.

The second indictment charged the four remaining counts of sexual abuse of a minor, alleging sexual activity in May 2002 with another girl, who also was 15 at the time.

The cases were tried together in May 2003. The trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict.

Roberts maintained his innocence and told the Empire after the trial in May 2003 that the deadlocked jury proved there was no evidence of guilt. But while he said he felt relieved not to be convicted, he felt "branded for life" by the charges.

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



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