Former Alaska attorney general faces abuse charges

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A special prosecutor said Friday he has filed third-degree child sexual abuse charges against former Alaska Attorney General Clyde “Ed” Sniffen.

Gregg Olson said the charges were filed on Friday but he did not yet have a stamped copy of the documents or a case number to provide. The case has yet to appear in an online court records system as of Friday afternoon.

A lawyer who represented Sniffen did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

Cori Mills, assistant attorney general for the Alaska Department of Justice, emailed staff saying the office learned that Olson had filed three counts of third-degree child sexual abuse against Sniffen.

The email was provided by the department to the AP, which had requested it.

Sniffen was a longtime department attorney who was appointed attorney general by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in January 2021. However, Sniffen resigned shortly thereafter. Attorneys general must be confirmed by the Legislative Assembly, and Sniffen resigned before that point.

Sniffen had replaced as attorney general Kevin Clarkson, who in 2020 tendered his resignation over what he called a “misjudgment” after details of text messages he sent to another employee of the State have been revealed.

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica reported last year that Sniffen’s resignation was announced as they reported allegations of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl three decades earlier. The woman had told news agencies that she and Sniffen began a sexual relationship in 1991 when she was a high school student. At the time, he was a 27-year-old attorney working at a local law firm and coach of his school’s mock trial competition team, news organizations reported.

“As you all know, an independent investigation into Mr. Sniffen’s relationship with a (then) 17-year-old girl many years ago has been ongoing since the relationship came to light in January 2021,” Mills wrote in her email. .

“The Anchorage Police Department conducted the investigation and the special prosecutor reviewed the investigation independently of our department. Now that the charges have been filed, a grand jury will determine whether to indict based on the evidence presented to it,” Mills wrote.

Mills said “the charging decision was made by the special prosecutor and all other prosecutions in this case will also be handled by the special prosecutor.”

Sniffen “has worked alongside us for many years. He was a valued colleague and to many of us a friend,” Mills wrote. “Today’s filing of charges may be disappointing and even disheartening, but our department serves all Alaskans. and is committed to fairness and justice for all.”