Man arrested for sexual assault

36-year-old victim had passed out at a party

Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A 31-year-old Juneau man was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a female acquaintance who had passed out at a party early Sunday morning.

Erick Karlson was charged in Juneau District Court on Monday with second degree sexual assault for fondling a 36-year-old woman under her pants. The charge is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Juneau Police Department received a report Sunday afternoon of the woman's sexual assault earlier that morning at an apartment in the Mendenhall Valley.

The victim, who authorities are not identifying because of the nature of the crime, said she had been drinking downtown Saturday night and was invited to a party at Karlson's apartment in the 9300 block of Glacier Highway at about 3 a.m. Sunday. The victim told investigators she drank about three beers at the party.

"Then at some point in time they all either went to sleep or passed out," said police spokesman Sgt. Dave Campbell. "And during the night is when the victim woke up and was being sexually assaulted by the suspect."

Witnesses at the party said they saw Karlson fondle the victim beneath her pants while she was passed out in a recliner chair, according to court documents. A witness allegedly confronted Karlson about his conduct and asked what he was doing, to which he replied "nothing" and went to his own bedroom.

He later admitted to the fondling, according to court records.

"I don't know why I stopped. I stopped because I felt guilty," Karlson told investigators, according to court records.

Assistant District Attorney Jack Schmidt told the judge that alcohol was a factor in the sexual assault.

"He drinks to excess and to blackout," Schmidt said in court Monday.

Schmidt said Karlson has a history of alcohol-related offenses, including domestic violence assault convictions in 1997 and 1999, and disorderly conduct convictions in 2000, 2003 and 2004.

The witness also told investigators that the victim "told her that she said she woke up in the morning with the defendant on top of her having sex with her," according to court documents. Karlson denied having sex with the alleged victim when confronted by investigators, according to court documents.

District Court Judge Keith Levy set Karlson's bail at $10,000 with the requirement or a third party custodian. Karlson is due back in court Wednesday morning.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or by e-mail at eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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