Prosecution could have been avoided with more thorough investigation

Last Friday, June 27, a man on trial for his life in Kenai Superior Court was acquitted of all charges, yet the Clarion devoted no coverage to the verdicts. Jason Raymond had been accused of first-degree sexual assault of a minor from an incident alleged to have occurred in early 2013. He spent over a year in jail awaiting trial, and faced a potential 99-year sentence if convicted. Not only did the jury find him not guilty of all charges, but Judge Bauman noted the weakness of the prosecution on the record, finding personally that the state had failed to prove its case.

The investigation of Raymond was a sham. After a confused and implausible allegation that he had assaulted a friend’s daughter “sometime in late January or early February,” the Alaska State Troopers launched an investigation — not to find the truth, but to create a story of Raymond’s guilt by any means necessary. The AST either missed or did not care that Raymond had been incarcerated during the time frame of the alleged assault. They subjected a young alleged victim to a long and leading interrogation, ignoring any responses she gave that did not fit their narrative. They visited an injured and drugged Raymond in the hospital after a car accident, treating his confused responses as a “confession,” and relying on this for the bulk of their case. Thankfully, the jury didn’t buy it, and neither did Judge Bauman.

Sex crimes against children are and should be one of law enforcement’s highest priorities. If the Troopers had acted with greater diligence and professionalism, countless resources wouldn’t have been wasted prosecuting an innocent man, and Raymond wouldn’t have lost a year of his life awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit.

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