An Anchorage man who raped 10 women over the course of two years will spend 50 years behind bars.
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson sentenced Jim Persey, who is now 25, to a maximum of 60 years with 10 suspended, on two counts of sexual assault in the first degree.
Between 2014 and 2016, when he was 16 to 18 years old, Persey sexually assaulted women, often using strangulation, a knife, beatings, and the hurling of racial epithets.
In 2016 two women came forward with similar allegations against Persey. The Anchorage Police Department put out a request for anyone with additional information, and other victims began reporting. Persey had used a dating app called MeetMe.
The sentence was a result of a plea agreement where Persey was allowed to enter a plea to two consolidated counts of sexual assault in the first degree, and was required to admit the conduct of all of the sexual assault accusations.
The agreement called for a sentencing range between 26 and 60 years of total jail time, including a required suspended term. Persey requested a sentence of 33 years to serve. The Court adopted the State’s recommendation of 60 years with 10 suspended, or 50 years to serve.
After completion of the active term of his sentence, Persey will be on probation for 15 years. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life.
In his sentencing remarks the Court noted that Persey was the most prolific sex offender the Judge had seen and said there is no other way to describe Persey than a “serial rapist.”
The Court heard victim impact statements from women who appeared in court or on the phone and specifically recognized the trauma that they had been subjected to by the sexual assaults. Judge Peterson said they all face different “challenges, demons, and hurdles that will be with them for the rest of their lives, simply because of Mr. Persey’s desire for sexual gratification.”
Other rapes have occurred after men and girls met each other using the MeetMe app, which describes itself as a way to “meet, chat, and have fun with new people.”
In 2018, Franchessco Abi Lucar, 37, met a 13-year-old victim in Utah and ended up being accused of raping her 15 times over the course of three months. At the time of the accused crimes, Lucar was a registered sex offender currently on probation with Adult Probation & Parole.
MeetMe says it is one of the few dating apps that screens for registered sex offenders. But according to the Washington Post, “the company has been the subject of lawsuits for allegedly enabling sexual predators to target minors.”
“Live streamers on MeetMe are a cross between YouTube personalities and disc jockeys. They develop followings through antics like playing dress-up or discussing Star Wars. But they also interact in real time with viewers, who type questions that anyone viewing the stream can read. Live streams on MeetMe act as digital ice breakers for romantic relationships. Viewers can send virtual gifts, like roses, which translate into real earnings for the broadcasters,” the Post reported.
MeetMe is #35 in the Apple App Store’s social networking category.