Relative fails to win bail for sex-abuse defendant

Kin is also girlfriend of man charged with abusing minor

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2003

A man accused of multiple felony counts of sexually abusing a minor remains in prison today despite a petition by a family member of the alleged victim to have the man released.

Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks denied the request Monday at a bail hearing in Juneau Superior Court.

Kenneth Willard Jr., 38, is accused of giving a 14-year-old girl living in his home liquor and then having sex with her three times Oct. 15. The girl, now 15, whose name was not released, went to authorities the day the incident allegedly happened. Willard has pleaded innocent to all charges.

At the hearing, the girl's family member, who is also the defendant's girlfriend and who lives in the home with Willard, offered to watch him around the clock if he was released, in lieu of posting the $20,000 bail imposed by the court.

The Empire is not releasing the woman's name or relationship to the girl to protect the alleged victim's anonymity.

The woman argued that since Willard is the household's sole breadwinner and because he is up for a promotion at work, he should be released into her custody so he can go back to work.

But Weeks disagreed.

"Given the nature of the allegations, I don't think (the woman) would be an appropriate third-party custodian," he said.

He also said Willard could not be released to a third-party custodian who is a family member of the alleged victim or who has children or teenagers in the home.

Willard was indicted by a Juneau grand jury March 14 and arrested March 20. He was charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor. He also was charged with a misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. All charges stem from incidents allegedly occurring in one day, said Assistant District Attorney Kurt Twitty.

"The state is alleging that Mr. Willard gave (the girl) alcohol, had sex with her, then later had sex with her again," said Twitty. "We're arguing that because she was a minor living in his home, he had authority over her and so she could not consent. Also, because she is under 16, she legally can't consent anyway."

Willard's attorney, public defender David Seid, did not return calls made by the Empire.

The girl has since moved out of state. Twitty said she was removed from the home by Willard's girlfriend and her family member shortly after the girl reported the alleged incident.

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