Teen charged with rape at high school pleads guilty to lesser offense

Northcut faces a possible 20-year prison sentence; Superior Court Judge Collins schedules hearing for the day after Thanksgiving

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Juneau teenager has agreed to plead guilty to sexually abusing a girl in a Juneau-Douglas High School restroom last spring.

David A. Northcut, 18, originally was charged with five felonies against a girl, then a 14-year-old freshman. The incident allegedly took place on May 28, the last Friday of the school year, in the Marie Drake annex.

Monday, Northcut agreed to plead guilty to one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Under Alaska law, the crime carries a possible prison sentence of 20 years.

The plea agreement leaves sentencing to Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins. She scheduled the hearing for Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.

The agreement dismisses two counts of first-degree sexual assault, a second count of second-degree abuse of a minor and a count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, all alleged from the same encounter.

The sexual assault charges alleged the actions were without the girl's consent. Consent, however, was not an issue in the sexual abuse charges.

Northcut graduated June 6, 10 days before he was arrested on a Juneau warrant while re-entering the United States from Mexico at San Ysidro, Calif., south of San Diego. Police believed he used graduation money to leave Juneau after being questioned by officers about the May 28 allegations.

The plea agreement stipulates that Collins will consider Northcut's juvenile court record at sentencing. Northcut turned 18 in February.

Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner filed notice in September that he intended to present evidence of a similar previous incident.

Police Capt. Tom Porter said the incident was reported on July 22, the day after the story of Northcut's not-guilty plea to the May 28 allegations appeared in the Empire.

A juvenile girl alleged that Northcut attempted to sexually assault her in a restroom at a church potluck in March or April. The district attorney's office has not prosecuted the case.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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