State Prosecutors Target Range of Child Sex Abuse Offenses in Round of Convictions

The Department of Law closed four child sex abuse cases last week. The charges are part of the state’s efforts to go after more offenders for a wider range of abuses.

Two of the cases were brought against a Sand Point resident sentenced to a total of 23 years, with 15 more on probation.

“James Griffith was sentenced on two different cases involving sexual abuse of a minor,” said Adam Alexander, assistant district attorney in the office of special prosecutions. “In the older of the two cases, Griffith was sentenced for sexually abusing a developmentally developed child.”

The other two convictions involve Anchorage residents possessing and distributing sexually exploitative images and videos. Alexander believes many people think of viewing child pornography as a lesser offense than direct abuse, but the Department of Law and the state Legislature are aggressively prosecuting those they see as driving the illegal market.

“In situations where those images of the child being victimized are trafficked on the Internet, it’s important to note that first and foremost these aren’t victimless crimes,” said Alexander.  “When somebody possesses, downloads, or distributes child pornography in Alaska they’re directly contributing to that victimization, and creating a market which drives the creation of those images.”

The state has strict sentencing guidelines as part of its deterrence strategy. Conviction in a first-time offense carries a minimum of 2 years in prison with two more on probation.