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ANCHORAGE - A Big Lake man who faked two DNA tests to avoid being identified as the father of a child on welfare must write letters of apology to all the people he lied to.
In addition, Aaron Brueggeman, now 22, must remain on probation for at least three years, do 500 hours of community service and pay $8,000 to the state for the cost of establishing the correct paternity for his daughter.
Brueggeman and the child's mother have since reunited and had a second child, and they told the judge they planned to marry. He has already paid the state Child Support Enforcement Division $3,000 in back child support, defense attorney Rob Herz said at a sentencing hearing last week.
David P. Hood, a friend who showed up for both DNA tests and swore he was Brueggeman, was fined $2,000 last month and put on probation for three years. He will also be required to pay some restitution for state resources wasted because of the deception, said Assistant Attorney General Cathy Schindler.
In refusing the state's request that Brueggeman do jail time, Superior Court Judge Larry Card said he believed the defendant's lies were at odds with his character. He was known in the community as a hard worker from a good family.
The DNA caper was ``a stupid act'' by ``a naive, unsophisticated kid,'' Card said. ``Everybody doesn't need to go to jail to get turned around.''
Card also dismissed suggestions that CSED was a bad guy in the case.
``We need CSED because there are fathers and mothers who don't support their children,'' the judge said. Consequently, ``all of us who work'' end up supporting them, he said.
The case began in the spring of 1996, when Brueggeman scheduled a DNA test because he had come to doubt that he was the father of the child, whom he had been supporting. It ended when he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of attempted criminal nonsupport and a felony perjury count.
A blood test, supervised by the Alaska State Troopers under court order, established that Brueggeman was the child's father.