Soldotna man on trial for sex abuse of a minor

The trial of Soldotna businessman Joe Rogers has lasted through the week of Oct. 3, and is expected to continue through Monday and Tuesday of next week, according to court officials.


Witnesses that testifyed last week included the mother of the victim and the victim.

Rogers is charged with 10 felony counts. He faces four counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, four counts of first-degree indecent exposure, two counts of coercion, and one count of second-degree attempted sexual abuse of a minor. All are class B or class C felonies.

Additional charges include four misdemeanors of indecent viewing of photos without consent of an adult, according to Alaska Trial Court Cases.

It is alleged that Rogers showed pornography and nude photos to the victim, according to court testimony.

Rogers has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is receiving counsel from a public defender.

The charges stem from Rogers' alleged abuse of a 13-year-old girl during a period of four months in 2005 and 2006.

According to an affidavit submitted by Soldotna Police Sgt. Stace Escott, school staff brought the alleged abuse to the authorities' attention. The victim's parent had knowledge of the abuse, but did not report it because Rogers "was a prominent business man in Soldotna involved in many public organizations" and threatened to ruin the parent's livelihood, according to the affidavit.

District Attorney Kelly Lawson alleged in her opening statement that Rogers is guilty of all the charges.

"And this went on for months," Lawson said. "It always happened when her mom ... was out of the house. She was out tanning, running errands going to the grocery store."

Public defender Andy Pevehouse alleged the charges originate from a single, accidental incident.

"... And the trial is about whether any of these other alleged crimes actually happened ...," he said.

"There's a reason (the victim) doesn't have any details, and it's because these things didn't happen."

The court has heard recordings between the victim's parent and Rogers. The victim's parent was heard informing Rogers that the authorities had been alerted to the alleged abuse. The voices in the recording were verified during the trial as Rogers' and the victim's parent.

"I tried to do the right thing ever since," Rogers said in the recording. "... You know, it's that one (expletive) thing. I can't believe it."

Though Rogers was originally arraigned in district court on June 25, the charges against him were ultimately dismissed on July 13 when the prosecution failed to indict him within the required 10-day window.

Despite the dropped charges, Rogers remained under the supervision and monitoring of Alaska Pretrial Services in anticipation of his indictment.

He remained out of custody under the same bail conditions initially set by Magistrate Matthew Christian before the original charges were dismissed - $100,000 unsecured appearance bond and electronic monitoring by APS.

Rogers' second superior court arraignment occurred on July 26.

The trial will continue on Monday, Oct. 10.


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