State Briefs

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2002

Seafood workers injured in crash

JUNEAU - A 16-year-old boy, among five seafood processing workers who were injured in a van crash Tuesday in Kake, is in satisfactory condition in a Seattle hospital today.

Five workers with Kake Foods Inc. were driving in a van at about 11:30 p.m. when it left the roadway and struck a tree, Kake police said.

All five were taken to Kake Clinic and treated for their injuries. Three were airlifted Wednesday morning to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

The van's driver was identified as Richard Garcia and the passengers were identified as Armando Hernandez, Christian Garcia and Arturo Sanchez, said Jerry Funk of the Kake police. A fifth victim was not identified, he said.

Bartlett Regional Hospital does not disclose patients' names. But spokeswoman Marijo Toner said today that one boy, 16, was medevaced to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Wednesday; a man, 25, was admitted to Bartlett for treatment for a blow to the chest and discharged Thursday in good condition; and a man, 24, was treated for a dislocated hip and discharged Wednesday in good condition.

Harborview said the 16-year-old is in satisfactory condition today.

Kake is a community of 710 people on Kupreanof Island 95 miles southwest of Juneau.

Trial set for accused harasser

UNALASKA - A sexual harassment case prosecuted under the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act is set for trial in September, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Antonio A. Donovo is charged with sexual harassment of an observer on the fishing vessel Dona Martita on Aug. 9-15, 2001, according to U.S. Attorney Audrey J. Renschen, in Anchorage. The non-jury trial is set for Sept. 16 in Anchorage before Magistrate Harry Branson.

The Dona Martita is a Bering Sea trawler owned by Trident Seafoods.

"This is an important case because of the level of harassment and because we believe it to be the first sexual harassment case to be criminally prosecuted under the Magnuson Act," said a report from the National Marine Fisheries' Service's Office for Law Enforcement in Juneau.

The case involves the physical harassment of an observer by the vessel's operator, according to the report.

NMFS enforcement agent Kevin Heck said the regulations are designed to provide observers with an environment free from harassment that could jeopardize their ability to collect data.

"Protecting observers is one of the highest enforcement priorities for the Alaska enforcement division, and any type of harassment against observers will be aggressively pursued," Heck said.

In a previous case, NMFS fined Peter Pan Seafoods $40,000, with $25,000 suspended, for an incident involving a fisheries observer at the company's plant in King Cove. The agency determined that an observer was sexually harassed by 15 to 20 processing line workers over several months in 2000.

As part of the out-of-court settlement, Peter Pan agreed to increase training of its plant employees .

Compiled from staff and wire service reports.

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