Anchorage prosecutors failed victim in Schneider assault, lawsuit says

There have been more court filings this week against 34-year-old Anchorage resident Justin Schneider, who received a plea agreement earlier this fall for what many people thought amounted to a sexual assault. But this time the filings aren’t criminal charges. Instead, Schneider is the defendant in a civil lawsuit brought by the woman he attacked.

Schneider ended up serving just one year for the criminal charges, on house arrest, and walked free at his sentencing in September.

Public outrage led to a campaign that, in this month’s election, successfully unseated the judge who’d overseen the case.

The plea deal, Anchorage prosecutors said at the time, was the result of charges dropped in part because they had been unable to reach the victim, known as “Jane Doe.”

“Well that’s just false,” said Jim Davis of the Northern Justice Project, who’s representing Jane Doe in the civil suit. “She left the prosecutor her email, her voicemail.”

Davis said members of the grassroots campaign that unseated the judge put Jane Doe in contact with his office. He says she is not just out to get some money, though the lawsuit does ask for unspecified damages.

What she really wants is justice, Davis said.

“She did follow through, she was available, and the prosecuting attorney decided not to involve her,” Davis said. “I think people got lazy. I think people got comfortable, and I think the prosecutor in this case, and the defense attorney in this case, and the judge in this case, all thought, ‘Oh well, this whole case can just go away, and who’s going to make a stink about it?'”

Schneider did not appear to have a lawyer listed for the new lawsuit as of Wednesday, and his attorney in the criminal case did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Department of Law Criminal Division chief John Skidmore declined an interview request for this story. But Skidmore disputed some of what Davis said and repeated that the prosecutor on the criminal case had been unable to reach the victim.

“We have no reason to doubt that she was willing to talk, but we were unable to contact her,” Skidmore said.