A 17-year-old Juneau boy accused of raping a 6-year-old girl in his family will be tried as an adult, in accordance with Alaska law. The teen could spend up to 60 years in a state prison if convicted.
Scott Ellis has been charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, an unclassified felony, stemming from alleged events of May and December 2002.
The teen is accused of having sex with the girl while she was staying with her grandmother. The girl's name was not released, and the Empire is withholding Ellis' relationship to her.
Ellis, a student at Yakoosge Daakahidi, the alternative high school, was arrested Tuesday morning near the school shortly after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $100,000 bail.
Public defender David Seid told the Empire he's appalled his client is at the state prison.
"It's shameful," said Seid. "He's a kid in there with a bunch of adults and not in the best place for his personal safety."
Because Ellis was at least 16 when the alleged crime was committed and it is an unclassified felony, he will be tried as an adult, Assistant Attorney General Kurt Twitty told the Empire.
"A minor charged with an unclassified felony is tried in the same manner as an adult, imprisoned in the same manner as an adult, and gets the same amount of time an adult would," said Twitty.
"If the charge is reduced to a lesser felony offense ... then there would be a hearing to determine whether he would go to a state prison or juvenile facility," he said.
Ellis' charges may change after the case is taken to a Juneau grand jury or to a pretrial hearing before a judge sometime next week.
Seid said if Ellis is indicted, he will enter an innocent plea for Ellis and ask a judge to adjust his bail.
"This kid's not a danger to the community, he's not a flight risk, and given his clean record, should be released," he said.
According to the court records, the warrant for Ellis' arrest was based on a probable-cause statement issued by the prosecutor's office.
According to the statement, the girl told police that in December she was using a computer in Ellis' bedroom. Ellis came into the room and asked her if she "wanted to do something with him." He allegedly raped her. The girl said "it hurt," and claimed it happened twice.
The statement went on to say that in April and May 2002 the girl was staying at her grandmother's house, where Ellis was living. The girl's mother told police she noticed a change in her daughter's behavior in May.
According to the statement, the girl's other grandmother told police that she came into a room and saw Ellis sitting in a recliner with his pants off and the girl lying on the floor with her pants unzipped. The grandmother also said she noticed bruising in the girl's groin when she gave her a bath around that time.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.