Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Man facing sex assault trial to plead guilty

JUNEAU - A taxi driver accused of molesting a passenger agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor Tuesday, the morning he was scheduled to stand trial on a first-degree sexual assault charge.

Darold Peters, 44, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault. The charge alleges he placed a woman "in fear of imminent injury."

Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks scheduled sentencing for April 22. The misdemeanor carries a maximum jail sentence of one year.

Under Alaska law, the usual prison sentence for first-degree sexual assault is eight years, if the state alleges no prior felony convictions. The maximum sentence is 40 years.

Peters was indicted by a grand jury Nov. 14. According to court records, a woman told Juneau Police that she took a taxi ride from a downtown bar on Oct. 19, 2003. She said she had fallen asleep in the cab and awoke with the driver molesting her.

Court records show she later identified Peters as the driver.

With the plea, Weeks ordered Peters to be released on his own recognizance until sentencing. In December, Peters was released to the supervision of his mother in Sitka.

Dead moose piling up on peninsula

KENAI - Moose carcasses are piling up in the Kenai Peninsula, littering backroad ditches, often with ropes still cinched tightly around their necks.

The moose likely died of starvation near private homes and property owners were doing what Alaska law says is their responsibility - disposing of the animals.

Discarding a moose carcass on a back road is legal. But state wildlife officials say dead animals should be left at least a mile in every direction away from any occupied dwelling, for sanitation's sake and to avoid attracting predators and scavengers to populated areas.

Officials also recommend dragging the carcass off the roadside into the woods.

Open houses set for kindergartners

JUNEAU - Kindergarten students who will be 5 by Aug. 15 are invited to the Juneau School District Kindergarten Open House on Wednesday, April 14. Registration also will be available for all families who are new to Juneau.

The Open House schedule is:

1:30-5:30 p.m. at Glacier Valley Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School.

2:30-5:30 p.m. at Auke Bay Elementary School, Gastineau Elementary School and Harborview Elementary School.

2:00-4:30 p.m. at Riverbend Elementary School.

2:15-4:00 p.m. at Juneau Community Charter School.

Kindergarten teachers will be available in their classrooms for visits. The principal and the school nurse will be present to welcome parents and to answer questions.

The school district encourages all kindergarten-age students to attend. Parents who are ready to register are asked to bring their child's birth certificate or an official copy and a record of immunization. Alaska state law says, "no shots - no school." Each child also will need a physical examination before starting school.

At the start of school next fall, an hour-long individual session with the kindergarten student, their parents and the classroom teacher will be scheduled as a personalized welcome and orientation to school. The kindergarten start date for next fall is Monday, Aug. 30, which is three school days later than for grade one to 12 students.

For more information, call Susan Arnold at 463-1700, ext. 218.

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