Westlake will skip justice on old accusation


Rep. Dean Westlake, now accused by a woman in Kotzebue of fathering a child with a teenager when he was in his late 20s, won’t be prosecuted, at least by the State of Alaska.

The Department of Law, in an email today, said it cannot prosecute based on the allegations of an incident that occurred in 1988; because it is legally barred by the statute of limitations that was in existence when the crime allegedly occurred.

“In this case, that would be the law that was in existence 30 years ago,” said Cori Mills, spokeswoman for the Department of Law.

“What we found in our research is that any applicable statute of limitations has long run out for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that occurred in the late 80’s. Therefore, even if there was evidence to pursue the case, we could not bring charges this far away from the original incident giving rise to potential criminal allegations,” she said.

KTVA’s Liz Raines was the first to report on the decision.

[Read the KTVA story here.]

Whether the matter can be taken up by tribal court is another thing. Tribal courts have no known limitations relating to statutes of limitations. Earlier this year, Gov. Walker’s attorney general wrote an opinion that granted broad authority to tribes as sovereign nations, with their own laws.

“These are matters that involve the ‘internal affairs’ of tribal citizens and those that go to the core of ‘tribal sovereignty,'” she wrote.

Much of Attorney General Janha Lindemuth’s opinion has not been tested in court.

[The attorney general’s opinion is here]

Westlake has resigned because of allegations made against him by women in Juneau, particularly legislative aides who work in the Capitol.


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