DoJ drops sex charges involving minors against Ted Stevens accuser

The man who was a key witness in the trial of former senator Ted Stevens whose conviction was thrown out as a result of prosecutorial misconduct, has dodged a legal bullet according to the Anchorage Daily News:

Top officials in the U.S. Department of Justice have vetoed the prosecution of imprisoned former Veco chief Bill Allen on sex charges involving minors, closing an Anchorage Police Department and FBI investigation that began in 2004, according to the police officer who led the case.

The officer, Sgt. Kevin Vandegriff, along with Detective Michele Logan, who took over the case when Vandegriff was promoted to patrol sergeant, said they are unhappy with the decision, which was left unexplained to them by federal officials.

"I think that we put together a very solid case, we did a lot work on it, it deserved to be indicted and heard before a jury," Vandegriff said.

The two officers said the Justice Department trial attorney who had been working with them for nearly two years, along with the supervisor of his section, thought the case was strong enough to seek an indictment from a grand jury. But the two prosecutors, in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in Washington, were overruled by officials atop the criminal division, Vandegriff said.

A spokesman for the criminal division refused to comment on the case.

Allen, whose tainted testimony almost sent Stevens to jail, has been given an inexplicable pass apparently by political appointees at Justice - even though the case appears substantial:

The complaining witness, Paula Roberds, now 26, said the Justice Department's decision was "devastating" to her.

Roberds, originally from the small Bethel-area village of Goodnews Bay, said she only reluctantly came forward two years ago to allege that Allen flew her from Seattle to Anchorage about five times for sex when she was 16, paying her thousands of dollars in cash each time. She initially met him working as a 15-year-old prostitute along Spenard Road, she said.

The federal Mann Act makes it a felony to bring someone across state lines for prostitution and imposes enhanced penalties when the victim is a minor. There's no comparable state crime.

According to the Daily News,"The officers found corroborating evidence in airline and other business records obtained through search warrants and spoke to about two dozen witnesses, including two women who participated in "threesomes" with the Goodnews Bay woman and Allen for cash."

Motives of the accusers may be one reason DoJ is reluctant to prosecute - some sold their stories to newspapers - but considering the independent, corroborating evidence available, it seems strange that Allen is now in the clear.


Hat Tip: Clarice Feldman