French questions Parnell about allegations of abuse in National Guard

Democratic Alaska state Sen. Hollis French sent a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell on Tuesday asking for more information about allegations of sexual misconduct within Alaska’s National Guard. Among other things, French is asking for information about prosecution rates, procedures and the number of cases that have been referred to law enforcement.

French is running for lieutenant governor with Byron Mallott, who’s running for governor.

The questions were in response to an article published on Oct. 27 in the Anchorage Daily News detailing what appears to be a culture within the Guard of abuse and of the lack of local law enforcement to do anything about it. Since 2009, 29 cases of alleged sexual assault have been reported to local law enforcement. So far, no one has yet to be prosecuted, nor has Gov. Sean Parnell, who has made ridding the state of sexual abuse a hallmark of his campaign, spoken out about the issue or the culture that seemingly exists in the Guard.

Numerous people were quoted in ADN’s article about the problems, including two chaplains who say that women have been coming to them for years and that nothing has been done about it. They also say that Parnell, who oversees the Guard, was aware of the problems as far back as 2010.

One member of the guard, Lt. Col. Ken Blalock had about 15 victims come to him. He said that he told Parnell and the Anchorage Police about the issues, and got his “butt chewed” for going above his chain of command by the head of the Guard Gen. Tom Katkus.

Following the article, Katkus issued a statement and wrote a column in the ADN assuring the public that the Guard takes these issues seriously. In the ADN piece, Katkus answers many of the questions that French poses. Among other things, he wrote that “the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers, was (sic) contacted in 21 cases, and for reasons specific to each case, these law enforcement agencies did not open investigations.”

Mayor Dan Sullivan, who is running for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket, has also not addressed these issues publicly.

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