Northwest Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sex charges against Hoonah man dropped

JUNEAU - A Hoonah man arrested in August on first- and second-degree sexual-assault charges has pleaded guilty to a non-sexual felony.

Roy Peters, 47, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court to third-degree assault, stemming from the actions of Aug. 27.

He called police that night to report that he had been assaulted. But police ended up arresting him after talking to the three women he alleged had assaulted him at his residence.

Hoonah police reported that a woman sleeping on the couch alleged she woke up with Peters touching her under her shirt and pants. She called for help from two women who resided there. The victim slept on the couch at the residence three or four times a week, police reported.

Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner told Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks that if the case had gone to trial, there would be conflicting testimony from witnesses.

Court records also show that Gardner said the victim didn't want the case to go to trial.

The agreement calls for six months to serve in jail, in addition to 18 months suspended, with three years of probation. Weeks scheduled sentencing for Jan. 4, 2005.

Under Alaska law, first-degree sexual assault carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison. The maximum sentence for second-degree sexual assault is 20 years.

Man arrested on felony charge of assault

JUNEAU - Police arrested a 30-year-old man Tuesday night after a woman reported she had been beaten up.

Based upon information provided by the 34-year-old woman, police arrested Aaron Cavanaugh, said police Sgt. Kevin Siska.

Cavanaugh was lodged in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on felony charges of second-degree assault, drunken driving and refusing a breath test.

Juneau District Magistrate John W. Sivertsen Jr. set bail Wednesday afternoon at $10,000 for the felony charges and $1,000 relating to a city prosecutors' petition to revoke Cavanaugh's probation from an October conviction for disorderly conduct.

When police found the woman at the home of a friend in the Mendenhall Valley, she said she had fled there after she was choked twice, once nearly to the point of unconsciousness, Siska reported. She said she was still having trouble breathing.

She told police Cavanaugh had been drinking heavily and left the scene in a white Toyota Tercel. Officers located the car at a residence on Sunny Point, where they arrested Cavanaugh.

An ambulance took the woman to Bartlett Regional Hospital for medical evaluation, Siska reported. She was later released.

Sivertsen told Cavanaugh on Wednesday that if convicted as charged he could face up to 10 years for assault and five years for each of the felony driving matters.

Convention survivors gather for UA project

FAIRBANKS - Three of the five surviving delegates who crafted Alaska's constitution gathered in Fairbanks to kick off a yearlong University of Alaska project to mark the 50-year anniversary of the 49th state's constitutional convention.

"Creating Alaska" will commemorate the gathering of 55 delegates in Fairbanks from Nov. 8, 1955, to Feb. 6, 1956, to hash out a constitution that would become the backbone of statehood in 1959.

The project will involve a collection of historic materials, interviews with surviving members of the statehood era, archiving relevant materials in state libraries and museums, and a public-awareness campaign to promote knowledge of the statehood movement.

Tuesday's kickoff banquet featured appearances by delegates George Sundborg, Jack Coghill and Vic Fischer.

Project co-chair Brian Rogers said organizers plan to create a series of documentaries about the constitutional convention and other events that led to Alaska becoming the 49th state.

"In a day and age when what divides us can seem more important than what unites us, that gathering of 55 men and women at a small university on the edge of the wilderness should serve as an inspiration," Rogers said.

Alaska's constitutional convention was a unique political event, Fischer said, because the participants engaged in a cooperative, nonpartisan effort not seen since in state politics.

He attributed much of the success to the convention's setting.

"The constitutional convention met in Fairbanks, College - away from Juneau, away from lobbyists, away from the partisan environment that surrounds the Legislature," Fischer said.

Coghill said part of the project should include indexing where all the delegates are buried.

"We need to make a memorial, place a memorial on their grave," he said.

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