Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, May 06, 2004

Teen charged with sexually abusing preteen

JUNEAU - A 19-year-old Juneau man faces four felony counts alleging sex crimes against three children, the two youngest of whom turned 12 in January.

Jonathan W. James was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and two counts of attempted second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. The complaint alleges the incidents could have taken place as early as Jan. 1, 2003.

The sexual contact alleged in the abuse charges is believed to have occurred between Jan. 1, 2003 and May 31, 2003, in one instance and between Jan. 1, 2003 and Jan. 20, 2004, in the other. The alleged victim is 12.

The attempted abuse charges involve different children. The oldest will turn 13 this summer. In one case, James is accused of attempting to engage in sexual contact on Feb. 27. In the other case, he is accused of attempting sexual contact between March 1, 2003 and May 31, 2003.

Agreement allows mine to resume construction

ANCHORAGE - An agreement between developer Teck-Pogo and an environmental group will allow construction work to resume on the Pogo gold mine.

Up to 500 construction jobs at the mine 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction were threatened after the Northern Alaska Environmental Center last month appealed Teck-Pogo's federal wastewater permit, citing concerns that runoff of arsenic and heavy metals from tailings could seep into a creek leading to the Goodpaster River.

The appeal surprised both state and federal officials.

Teck-Pogo immediately announced that in the absence of a permit, it would lay off construction workers until the appeal was resolved.

Federal regulators said resolution of the appeal could take months. Laid-off workers and others protested outside the environmental center offices last week, and Gov. Frank Murkowski and Interior Alaska legislators urged the two sides to negotiate.

After an all-night session that began Tuesday afternoon and ended about 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, the environmental center said it would withdraw its appeal.

In exchange, Teck-Pogo agreed to additional monitoring and a fish study of the Goodpaster River. Teck-Pogo also will set up a seven-member mine advisory council that will periodically review mine activities.

DA: Charges won't be filed in bar death

ANCHORAGE - Prosecutors say they won't pursue criminal charges against the staff of a popular nightclub in the death of a 24-year-old man.

Chief Assistant District Attorney John Novak in a Tuesday news conference called Gerald Haynes' March 20 death at Chilkoot Charlie's a tragedy.

But, he said, interviews with dozens of witnesses and a review of a videotape by bar workers of the incident did not unearth "sufficient evidence of culpability to warrant the filing of any criminal charges."

Haynes died of positional and compression asphyxia while handcuffed on the floor of the bar, according to the state's acting chief medical examiner.

Novak said Haynes initiated the encounter by resisting bouncers' efforts to escort him out of the nightclub after an argument with another patron.

The medical examiner last month ruled the death a homicide. Alcohol and drugs played no role in the death, officials said.

Medical examiner says woman suffocated

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman died of asphyxiation, according to the state medical examiner who testified at the murder trial of the woman's son, Kenneth Padgett.

The November 2001 death of Charlotte Miles was a homicide, Franc Fallico told jurors this week, saying he reached that conclusion only because two autopsies eliminated all other causes of death.

Miles, 56, was last seen alive Nov. 14, 2001. Padgett has admitted wrapping his mother's body in a blanket, duct-taping her face and hands, then walling her into the kitchen breakfast bar in her Muldoon trailer, caulking the joints of the impromptu tomb with silicone grout.

Her body was discovered the following month.

Prosecutor Sharon Marshall says Padgett, 40, killed his mother because he was broke and she wouldn't give him money.

Remains may be those of missing woman

ANCHORAGE - Skeletal remains found near Talkeetna are likely the remains of Bethany Correira, who disappeared from her Anchorage apartment about a year ago, Anchorage police said Wednesday.

The remains were found Monday on the one-year anniversary of Correira's disappearance, said police Chief Walt Monegan. He said the discovery has turned the missing person case into a homicide.

"We feel fairly confident it might be Bethany," Monegan said at a news conference at police headquarters.

The remains were found Monday near an abandoned gravel pit, which also is near a pull-off area near mile 129 of the Parks Highway, the chief said.

Monegan refused to say how authorities were alerted to the skeletal remains.

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