Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, October 03, 2003

Change in child's testimony frees man

JUNEAU - More than a year after a Juneau jury found him guilty of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a Haines man was exonerated in August.

Richard Warren was sentenced in May 2002 to eight years in jail for actions allegedly committed the previous December. Earlier this year, the child, now 8, testified the sexual contact did not happen.

"Nothing really happened, nothing," she said.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks, who had sentenced Warren in 2002, ordered he "should have a new trial in the interests of justice."

District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen argued against granting Warren a new trial. After the order, he informed Weeks his office would not retry the case "in consideration of the victim's particular circumstances and stress that is likely to occur if this matter is reprosecuted."

Weeks said the decision was based on the alleged victim changing her story about Warren having sexual contact with her in Haines while her parents were working in Skagway.

"The court believes that the recantation in many ways is not credible," Weeks wrote in his order for a new trial. "There were enough corroborating facts testified to at trial to make the child's trial testimony more credible than the recantation."

The girl's mother testified at the hearing that she believed her daughter the second time. She said she was sure that a girl's aunt had told her to lie. She said she had no relationship with the aunt, who had reported her family to the predecessor of the Alaska Office of Children's Services.

The aunt denied that she influenced the child's original testimony. She said she first heard of the allegation against Warren from the girl's mother.

KTOO hosts record sale, seafood festival

JUNEAU - KTOO-FM will host its semi-annual Used Record, CD & Video Sale and its Festival of Seafood on Saturday.

The Used Record sale runs from 9 a.m.-noon at the station. Thousands of albums will be available for $1 as a fund-raiser for the station. A limited number of compact discs and cassettes will also be available, along with a small selection of audio equipment.

Cliff Nelson will host.

The Festival of Seafood dinner will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall. The menu includes halibut, salmon, crab, shrimp, salads, Alaskan Oatmeal Stout gingerbread and more. Before the dinner, the Alaskan Brewing Company will host the Annual Tutored Beer Tasting at 4 p.m. The contest will include five beers and seafood hors d'oeuvres.

Beer tasting admission is $10 or $8 with dinner. Admission for dinner is $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 12. Tickets are available at the door.

Craig ranger appointed to Washington, D.C., job

KETCHIKAN - Dale Kanen, U.S. Forest Service district ranger for Craig, will oversee the agency's national Office of Tribal Relations in Washington, D.C., officials said.

Kanen, 51, has served in his present job for eight years. The Craig District is one 10 ranger districts on the 16.8 million-acre Tongass National Forest. The district encompasses 1 million acres, including 250,000 acres of land owned by seven Native corporations, according to the Forest Service.

Kanen, who will report to his new assignment early next year, began his Forest Service career after graduating from the University of Maryland College of Engineering in 1974.

Kanen, who was born near Glacier Bay, is a Tlingit from the Dog Salmon Clan.

Board to consider plan to rebuild blue king crabs

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Board of Fisheries, hoping to revive the once lucrative Pribilof Island blue king crab fishery, at its meeting Saturday will consider a plan to allow some crab fishing while rebuilding stocks to a more sustainable level.

"What is being decided is, when the stocks ... start to come back, how the fishery will be managed in the future," said David Witherell, deputy director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Blue king crab, known for their proportionally giant claws, are brown with royal blue highlights, although when cooked they turn a bright orange-red.

They sell for $24 to $26 a pound retail, compared with about $20 a pound for red king crab, said Rob Parrish, spokesman for Fisherman's Express, an Anchorage firm specializing in domestic shipments of king crab.

The crab's merus meat, out of the fat part of the legs, retails for about $50 a pound out of the shell, he said.

Management of Pribilof Island blue king crab falls under a federal plan for all king and tanner crab in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

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