Alaska guardsman comes back to face rape charges

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2005

ANCHORAGE - A U.S. soldier fighting in Iraq was returned to Anchorage this week to face accusations that he repeatedly raped an 11-year-old girl.

Pfc. John M. Parks of the Alaska Army National Guard is charged with 10 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, the Anchorage Police Department said Wednesday. Bail for Parks, of Anchorage, has been set at $25,000.

Parks, 25, told military authorities he had sex with the girl, but blamed his actions on drug use and alleged the girl seduced him, according to court papers.

The alleged abuse occurred in February, March and April of 2004 when Parks was 24, court papers said.

At the time, Parks, who has no criminal history, had served six years as an active duty soldier and was in the Army Reserve, the military said.

Anchorage police learned of the alleged abuse early this year when the state Office of Children's Services received a tip, said Anchorage Detective Mark Thomas, a chief investigator in the case.

The alleged victim told Thomas that the rapes began one night after her mother left their apartment allegedly to do drugs, leaving her and her friend alone with Parks.

The girl said her friend went to sleep, leaving her on a couch watching television. Parks began rubbing lotion on her back, would not let her leave the room and eventually raped her, according to the court document.

The girl said she did not call for help because she was unsure of what Parks would do to her, according to the papers.

The girl, who is now 12 years old, told Thomas that Parks "did this to her more than 10 times but less than 20 times" over the three-month period, the court papers said.

Parks said he had sex with the girl five to 10 times, but said she initiated it each time, according to the document.

Additional charges may be filed against Parks and others, Thomas said.

An arrest warrant for Parks had been issued May 18, but military procedures delayed his return until Monday, Thomas said.

The Alaska National Guard was "surprised and saddened" to learn of the charges against Parks, the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs said. The Guard said it was unaware of the alleged abuse.

Parks joined the Alaska Army National Guard's Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry, headquartered in Juneau, in July 2004. The unit was mobilized in October for deployment to Iraq.

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