A 50-year-old Angoon man was sentenced last week to 8½ years in prison for sexually abusing two children in the early 1980s.
George Jim Jr. was sentenced Friday in Sitka Superior Court for two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, each Class A felonies, for molesting the two girls in Angoon in 1983. Both victims were under the age of 10 when the crime occurred.
"A Class A felony is one of the highest felonies," Sitka Assistant District Attorney Jean Seaton said. "Sexual abuse of a minor, under these circumstances, is right below a homicide."
There were no formal charges brought against Jim during the initial investigation in 1983. The case was reopened in 2008 when new information was discovered, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
Jim waived his right to a jury trial and took a plea agreement with the prosecution. In addition to serving 8½ years in prison, Jim had another 8 years suspended and will be on probation for 10 years following his release from prison.
Jim was originally indicted on 15 counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.
Jim would have likely been sentenced to more time in prison had he committed the crimes under the state's current sexual abuse statutes.
"It's what the sentences would have been at the time he committed the offenses, which is what we have to look at," Seaton said. "It would be a 20- to 30-year sentence under today's statutes."
Had he committed the crimes under today's statutes, Jim would also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Since the acts were committed in the early 1980s, he will not be required to register upon release from prison, Seaton said.
There has been a lot of litigation about whether or not people should be required to register as a sex offender regardless of when the crimes took place, she added.
"There have been other court cases where that principle was set forth, that it is not retroactive," Seaton said. "And the theory behind that was ... it might have been a deterrent at that time."
If Jim commits another sex crime in the future, however, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, she said.
He is presently incarcerated at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.
Contact reporter Eric Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.