Another must-read from the Anchorage Press about the National Guard scandal

David Holtouse from the Anchorage Press has another must read on the National Guard scandal. This piece, like the last, is culled from investigative reports that were leaked to the Press. It focuses on three National Guard recruiters and “sexual assaults and numerous cases of sexual harassment targeting fellow soldiers, new recruits, and civilian women, including high school JROTC cadets,” perpetrated by the three between 2007 to 2011. The investigation of the three began in mid-2012. According to the article, “leadership” requested the investigation. The reports on the activity of the three were submitted to the Guard in 2013. The three are no longer recruiters. And though the article says that they weren’t arrested or charged, it doesn’t say why. Nor does it say when they were let go, or how they were discharged, if they were.

In any event, the accounts of rape and sexual abuse are repulsive.

“These three recruiters were seemingly untouchable and attempts to report their misconduct were either ignored or resulted in negative repercussions for the recruiter reporting the misconduct,” the Press quotes the investigative report as saying.

Read the must-read story here.


40 thoughts on “Another must-read from the Anchorage Press about the National Guard scandal

  1. Sequel Assault Survivor

    It us so good to see that you care more about politics and the governor’s job than serial assault victims. Who cares if he waited 4 years or more. It isn’t like it matters how many more women were assaulted, or how long they have to wait for justice, as long as a Republican wins an election, right?

  2. Lynn Willis

    Doesn’t the title “Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard” imply strongly that he has authority to pursue events within the Guard? Parnell does not have the title “Commander in Chief of the Office of the Attorney General” yet he sure seemed to have no problem exercising his authority over his subordinates in that department to pursue meaningful action regarding the gay marriage issue to a final resolution. If only he would have pursued the concerns brought to him by credible people in the Guard scandal with the same enthusiasm and not questioned why he saw no resolution over time after being told the situation was under control.
    So, perhaps would you prefer the title “Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard (except when I can’t figure out what I can do as the Commander)?
    We agree on some issues; however, just because I listen to the same information you do and draw a different conclusion that does not mean that my conclusion is invalid or that my opinion is any less valid than yours.

  3. doj

    This scandal is so bad that there is talk that Parnell needs to step down and be replaced with Dan Sullivan at the top of the ticket.

    The discussion is who fills the Lt. Gov. slot. Several Republican Senate and House members are under consideration. Wright is pushing Chenault, others are pushing for Sen. Huggins.

    As of today Parnell is now 10 points down in the polls. Walker wins by a landslide. There will be more extremely damaging leaked documents. The stuff Parnell is try to hide will come out.

  4. Jon K

    Lynn – I’m not playing games. I don’t ask questions when I don’t know the answer and unlike you I generally don’t opine about things I don’t understand. My questions are genuine. I don’t understand how much authority Parnell has to deal with all of the issues implicated by this scandal. That’s why I asked. Moreover, as others have highlighted, it appears that Parnell did report the criminal matters to law enforcement so at least with the sexual assaults I’m not sure what more he could have done. That said, part of the problem with this story is there are really four or five scandals that have been conflated – the lack of response to rape and sexual assault; Parnell’s / legislators / Alaska’s delegations misplaced trust in the the Guard’s leadership; graft and corruption; and awful morale and dysfunction within the guard.

  5. Jon K

    Lynn – thanks for digging. This is just getting bizarre and very disconcerting. How deep does the rot go?

  6. Straitlaced Radical

    Give her credit if you’d like, but by the time she first wrote about this, the NGB investigation was already well underway and had been announced publically. I also think her timing is suspect–why wait until just after the session news cycle ends and campaign season is starting to start writing about it?

  7. Amanda Post author

    @Lynn. Thanks. That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a blogger–unless someone, ahem–could take over for me for a few days here. In any case, I’ll begin to chip away, but it will have to wait until after the election. I do have a string of questions into the Guard, including about those 8 cases.

  8. Lynn Willis

    The National Guard should, and can, hold its members to as high a moral standard and expectation of discipline as the active component. True, the laws available to enforce those standards are different but they can be just as effective.
    This situation is nothing if not a complete failure of leadership all the way to the top of the state chain of command. Leaders lead, they don’t just react.
    Now we are all witnessing some world class “CYA”. This “legal jurisdiction” canard is now being floated by the Parnell apologists to deflect as much responsibility from him as possible. I am not buying it.

  9. Lynn Willis

    Suggest you read the Compass Article by then State Commissioner/Lt. General Katkus published October 29, 2013.
    I found the General’s explanation to be incredulous at the time and now apparently so has the Governor. I would suggest you “audit” the 29 cases of alleged sexual assault reported prior to October 2013 and how they were disposed of and you might get a feeling for what the ramifications of this scandal could be to the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers.
    Some points: 1. The National Guard Armory sits on a Federal Military Reservation and if any of these purported assaults occurred there where were the Feds? 2. If you believe the General, of 29 cases 18 were committed by civilian perpetrators – a statement that makes no sense for Katkus to make unless these civilians were somehow associated with the Guard. Were they and if not why would Katkus be involved at all? 3. The General states further that: “Local law enforcement, including 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” 4. What state statute allows an Anchorage Police Officer or Alaska State Trooper to decide not to open an investigation and is there any record of that process in any or all of these 21 cases? 5. If you subtract the 21 cases that did not merit opening an investigation (and that is an amazing number given what I know about women having to have the courage to report especially in the military) from the 29 original cases reported you have 8 cases. What was the disposition of those 8 cases?

  10. Lynn Willis

    As I have told you several times except during periods of federal active duty the Governor of each state has complete jurisdiction over the Guard especially in matters of crimes such as rape. If he doubts that – why didn’t he ask? Am I to believe that you want me to believe that between the Governor (who is an attorney) and the State Attorney General (who is also an attorney) that they are completely unable to ask the question you pose themselves? They know damn well they would have no problem ascertaining jurisdiction and so do you. Being he is such a master of displacement of responsibility if Sean Parnell had a serious jurisdictional problem I am sure he would have that fact printed on a banner and towed by an airplane all across Alaska; however he has never mentioned that problem has he? Please stop feigning ignorance – it doesn’t become you.

  11. Les Moore

    When is somebody going to start grilling Dan Sullivan, George Vakalis and Mark Mew ?

    How about Audie Holloway and Joe Masters ?

    The Alaska State Legislature is tasked with oversight of the DMVA, why has that body not called for a Special Prosecutor ? They did it for Troopergate for Christ’s sake, why not now ?

    God help these souls, these poor, poor pathetic souls……

    AST and APD personnel told Katkus that a drug taskforce was about to arrest some R&R personnel and Katkus let the drug dealers know to get rid of the evidence.

    Arranged for Sensitive Property to be stolen for Domestic Terrorists

    Coordinated with his friends at APD and AST that any sexual assault cases involving National Guard personnel would be turned over to him for investigation.

    “……I was called in to General Katkus’ office. COL DeHaas was there. Also present were Seth McMillan, Lieutenant Tony Henry (APD) and Sergeant Derel Redick (APD).

    – Katkus and DeHaas repeatedly told me to tell them the names of the victims. I repeatedly told them I was trying to get the victims to talk to the police and was not going to give them the names.

    – I was again told to not take any information on crimes, both drug and sexual related, to the police; but to take that information to the Chief of Staff or to General Katkus.

    – McMillan told me later he could no longer talk to me, he was directed to not discuss anything I had told him, and he was not to pursue any of the information. He was told this by Lieutenant Henry. I was also told that Henry had told Katkus about the drug investigation before the arrests were made, that allowed Katkus to tell R&R to “get rid of the evidence.”

    – McMillan told me he could no longer talk to me but gave me the name of another police officer I should talk with. When I contacted him to ask about interviews for the sexual assault victims, he told me that they were briefed that all sexual assault reports involving the National Guard are turned over to MG Katkus for him to investigate.

    – The victims I had talked to are now essentially distrustful and afraid of the police.

  12. Straitlaced Radical

    In response, I will raise a point here that I have raised elsewhere. The media itself decides what aspects of anything it will report and what slant it will put on them. In general, they get a pass for these choices and answer to no one. If someone who calls the shots in some news room wants only the negative parts of any situation to get out through their outlet, that’s just the way it is. They are under no real obligation to report news they’re not interested in.

    There is plenty of bad news on the National Guard. What’s been put out there for us to see is awful — no question. If it’s even partly true, people should be getting fired and ultimately going to jail. But if there are any good parts to hear about, you can’t assume those get equal coverage, especially with an election looming. Why should we always suspect a politician’s motives but never suspect a reporter’s?

    People can always call or write the gov’s office directly and ask questions. He said that himself in at least one press conference I listened to.

  13. Mae

    When evidence begin to point to a Nome Police Officer for the murder/execution of Ms. Ivanoff, the police chief picked up the phone and called the state troopers and requested help. It was the best move a “top dawg” of a PD could ever do. Granted it was probably protocol.

    As top dawg of out AK national Guard, couldn’t Parnell do the same?

    Cause from where I sit and from what I read, it just looks like he is promoting a culture of rape with his most recent and only actions.
    The dude needs to step away from this and call in the Feds to take over the investigation and eventual prosecution.

    While I understand Nome PD and the AK Guard are two different beasts and the two involve two very different crimes, something more, than what has been done, really, really needs to happen.

    This mess, as every day goes by, just looks like the rape culture is allowed to flourish. And remember, perps choose victims and respect is not even on their radar.

    Say what you want about federal over-reach or liberal agendas… But the govs current actions are not improving anything for anyone but the perps.

    This is our ALASKA National Guard. The guys and gals who are OUR first/second responders when a natural disaster strikes. These are OUR people, OUR pride and joy. Come on people…. Rise and rage. Don’t let this mess continue with our ranks. We are a gigantic state we need OUR Guard and we need them to be healthy.

  14. Jon K

    So this means that the next question the press needs to ask isn’t why didn’t Parnell do more, but what happened with the APD investigation(s)?

  15. Lensky

    Sometimes all options suck, especially when issues have been allowed to fester. What has been released thus far makes the administration look less that decisive. Whether or not any of these alleged criminals ever face trial is still uncertain but the case of the Parnell administration goes to the jury on Nov. 4, as you rightly point out, “Like it or not.”


    Problem: Parnell is a pathetic problem solver. He is not a leader. He surrounds himself with incompetent, non-challenging individuals.
    Solution: November 4th. This day you can choose what kind of government you want. So, vote.

  17. Thomas

    Don B and Jon K both raise interesting and valid points. Don B suggests that the governor appoint a special prosecutor to look into the Guard mess. Jon K wonders if the governor even has that authority. The point is that there is incredible confusion, misinformation and wonderment surrounding this seemingly growing and complicated mess. From my vantage, the governor’s lack of interest in communicating “the facts” about his role, what he can and can’t do is most likely going to cost him the election. The governor’s lack of leadership, political naivete and inexperienced team, both on the administration as well as campaign side, in all likelihood will turn the state over to the so-called Unity ticket which I believe will be a four year slap to progress. Somebody should chronicle this administration’s and campaign’s steps as a text book example of how not to handle a crisis. Every night, I watch the evening news to learn what the governor is going to do to get in front of this horrible, festering problem facing the National Guard. And every night, nothing. Does the governor even have a spokesperson? Does the governor have advisors? Does he listen to them or are they as vacuous as he appears? I’d just like to have answers to the questions that my fellow readers, Jon K and Joe B, raised.

  18. Lensky

    You could well be right but if indeed that’s the case one might wonder why the administration doesn’t release the reports for the world to see.

  19. LS

    These comments and stories all bring back the way the media “mis”-handled senator Ted Stevens. I remember thinking then as now that people are rushing to make judgements without the whole story.

  20. Jon K

    Does a special prosecutor appointed by the governor have jurisdiction to investigate the National Guard?

  21. Anonymous

    Report was relieased:

    Nobody official is going to release details of ongoing investigations or personnel matters that are protected by law — like it or not. And nobody ought to be leaking it either, so when people actually get charged for this despicable behavior, which I believe now they will, the prosecution is less likely to be hampered and defense lawyers don’t whine about “not getting a fair trial.”

  22. Lensky

    Great point. How can you expect a fair shake when the press is predisposed to be upset by rape? Perhaps the administration should release the report. Then we won’t need to rely on biased reporters to summarize. It’s high time the pro-rape commentators get a chance to report on this!

  23. John Q. Public


    What is disturbing in the article is that the National Guard report, completed in December 2013, noted :
    1. “In-depth accounts of four sexual assaults and numerous cases of sexual harassment targeting fellow soldiers, new recruits, and civilian women, including high school JROTC cadets. “(NOTE: That’s right, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS).
    2. “One National Guard investigation found that a recruiter sexually assaulted a civilian victim in late December 2010, more than a month AFTER three military chaplains have said they personally warned Governor Sean Parnell that Guard officers were covering up rapes committed by recruiters…..”
    3. Tom Katkus and McHugh Pierre were allowed to resign in September and October 2013 respectively, 9 and 10 months AFTER the report was received. That’s right, allowed to resign, not summarily fired with potential impact on retirement benefits, for what may well be have been their role in covering up alleged crimes in an effort to keep the details from the public- and themselves from getting into legal trouble for obstruction- or worse.

    Question: why?

    There are laws which criminally penalize school employees for doing what National Guard personnel are alleged to have done with respect to high school students? Don’t high school girls deserve the same legal protection from any sexual predator invited onto campus as they do from school employees?

    The National Guard seems to think firings and other “administrative actions” are all that are necessary, and apparently the Parnell administration agrees. No criminal charges against people who allegedly committed rape, attempted sexual misconduct with high school students, and other potential crimes, including coverup/obstruction of justice by others, e.g. Katkus, Pierre, and possibly other senior members of the Governor’s staff (such as the chief of staff, who has done his best to keep all email communication off the state system, and the rest hidden from the public)?
    4. “Three Alaska National Guard chaplains, including State Command Chaplain Lt. Col. Rick Koch, informed Governor Sean Parnell in two speaker phone conversations about widespread misconduct with the Alaska National Guard, including sexual assaults perpetrated by recruiters, according to extensive notes of the conversations kept by the chaplains.”

    “Four women known to me and some others have been sexually assaulted and/or raped within this past year,” Koch told the governor, according to written “bullet point” notes he said he used in the conversations, and gave the governor’s office in November 2010.
    “None of these women will come forward due to mistrust and fear of reprisal. The culture of fear is so predominant throughout the entire organization that persons of influence and power have retreated in the shadows and feel helpless to assist these women.”

    These facts in and of themselves should have resulted in Parnell, or to whichever member of his personal staff this had been delegated, starting a thorough independent nvestigation in to get to the bottom of it in 2010. Certainly, in 2014, the only way anyone will know what Parnell (and his chief of staff and other senior staff in Parnell’s office) “knew about sexual assaults and other serious misconduct within the Alaska National Guard, when exactly he knew it, and what, if anything, he did about it” will be if a special counsel is immediately appointed.

    Otherwise, THE BAND PLAYS ON.

  24. Jack Morgan

    Governor Parnell is correcting the egregious problems in the Alaska National Guard. The law will bear down and take its course, not mob incitements from the lefties. I appreciate our Governor’s leadership and firm actions.

  25. Sam P.

    So the long knives come out for Parnell, and I can hear the unions sharpening the steel on the whetstone. There will be blood.

    But these problems go way back in the Guard to previous administrations. At least this governor has taken on what no previous governor has had an interest in. It’s tough to take on the closed culture of the military. And he has tackled it during an election year, which tells me he puts principles and justice above politics.

    For all you Saul Alinsky followers trying to destroy him prior to Election Day, we see he is going to get bloodied by your knives. We understand it’s not personal for you — it’s just politics. This is all you’ve got on him, and you’ll stop at nothing because it’s not really the victims or the alleged perpetrators you care about — it’s the Governor’s Office that is the goal.

    I’ll stand with Governor Parnell. He’s got the right combination of character, leadership and personal conviction to see this through.

  26. Lynn Willis

    This scandal is only getting worse for the Governor. He could have done the right thing by appointing an objective special prosecutor, but he chose to parse this effort out over time with a series of seemingly disjointed efforts. Obfuscating and delay only provokes the press and if you are not able to deal with the “4th Estate” they will become your worst nightmare. Something is motivating this Governor that simply doesn’t make any sense and he has to understand there is a cadre of folks who are going to work very hard to solve that mystery.

  27. Lynn Willis

    This scandal is only getting worse for the Governor. He could have done the right thing by appointing an objective special prosecutor, but he chose to parse this effort out over time with a series of seemingly disjointed efforts. Obfuscating and delay only provokes the press and if you are not able to deal with the “4th Estate” they will become your worse nightmare. Something is motivating this Governor that simply doesn’t make any sense and he has to understand there is a cadre of folks who are going to work very hard to solve that mystery.

  28. Alaskan

    Simply put, the Alaska National Guard did not pursue criminal action against these three recruiters because it does not have criminal investigative authority.

    While the line has blurred between the guard and active duty over the past thirteen years, the guard does not have a Criminal Investigative Division (CID, as active duty has), nor do they have UCMJ authority unless guard members are on federal Title 10 orders (which these recruiters were not on).

    In these circumstances, according to Alaska State Statute, the guard refers all criminal matters to local law enforcement. Ask local law enforcement (APD) why there have been no indictments, as they have jurisdiction on these cases.

    The guard can and did initiate administrative action, which was done through the AR 15-6 investigation.

    It would be great if people reporting on the Alaska National Guard issues took as much time to truly understand how the guard operates and its differences from active duty as they do looking for salacious stories.

  29. Jon K


    I generally agree, but before making a judgment on Parnell’s handling of these issues we need to know more. We should start with a better understanding of just what can be shared with the public. At the end of the story there is an ambiguous email from someone at the Guard which suggests that the investigation with these three apparent rapists has not concluded and this information should not have been disclosed to the public. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps Lynn, who seems to know a lot about the process, can tell us why the Guard sent this email and what is going on.

    In any event, it doesn’t sound like the investigatory process has ended. And assuming Parnell and his staff did respond to all charges and relayed information to law enforcement to investigate, I’m not sure what more he could have done on that front. Maybe I’m being too easy on Parnell. The bigger problem here is why Parnell continued to have faith in Katkus. He needs to explain in more detail why. I take what Parnell says at face value because I trust him but clearly many Alaskans don’t and the public deserves a more detailed accounting on this issue.

    I will say one thing, Shannyn Moore, who I think of as Alaska’s Sean Hannity – that is a loudmouth propagandist with little to no regard for the truth or accuracy – certainly deserves credit for helping to bring this scandal to light.


    Who would have ever predicted that Parnell’s administration would be taken down by a sex scandal?

  31. Paul Revere

    The Anchorage Press gets kudos for this investigative article. The culture of our Alaska National Guard appears to be reprehensible. I do not understand why there have not been indictments. I don’t know why Katkus was allowed to resign instead of being fired. I think Parnell needs to. Answer the questions the public has on these matters. I don’t know if Parnell and his senior staff is culpable or not; however, I do know that the Governor has some explaining to do. Without real, open and transparent answers that explains what is going on, I believe Alaskans will hold Parnell accountable on 11/4.

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