Two charged with abuse, child porn in remote Southeast raid

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2001

SITKA (AP) -- A married couple was arrested Friday morning on a remote island north of Sitka on felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor, unlawful exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography, Sitka police said.

Dick Blue Sky, 47, and Cynthia Lee Sky, 39, were arraigned at the Sitka courthouse and jailed on $250,000 and $200,000 bail, respectively. They face separate preliminary hearings Feb. 23.

The couple was brought to Sitka on a Coast Guard helicopter following their arrest on Bauer Island, also known as Remote Control Island, off West Chichagof Island about 50 miles north of Sitka.

About 20 law enforcement officers, including six from the Sitka Police Department, took part, said Sitka Police Chief Bill McLendon.

McLendon revealed few details of the investigation but told the Sitka Sentinel that ''the activity has been going on for quite some time.''

''This is one of the more serious cases of these types I have ever been involved with,'' he said. ''It's pretty frightening.''

Police were surprised to discover ''a female child, not the couple's daughter,'' alone with the couple, the chief said.

Information at the arraignment gave the girl's age as 12.

''We are in the process of interviewing the child and her parents at this very time,'' McLendon said in a statement. ''Her presence was quite unexpected.''

He said the Skys apparently had been living in a collection of tents and shelters on the island, but were not the registered property owners.

Some law enforcement officers stayed on the island after the arrests, gathering and cataloging evidence under a search warrant.

The arrests culminated a lengthy criminal investigation that was a joint operation involving the Sitka Police Department, the Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers and the U.S. Forest Service, McLendon said.

The law enforcement party set out from Sitka on Wednesday on a Ketchikan-based Coast Guard buoy tender in preparation for the raid.

McLendon said the Skys were arrested without incident even though Dick Sky was carrying a shotgun when approached.

''Officers reported finding a cache of weapons on the island as well as evidence to support the charges on which the couple was arrested,'' McLendon said.

The state was represented at the arraignment by Assistant District Attorney Corinne Vorenkamp. The Skys were charged with offenses that the state says took place between June 10 and July 8, 2000.

Dick Blue Sky was charged with three felony counts of sexual abuse, including exploitation of a child under 13.

Cynthia Lee Sky was charged with two felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child pornography, another felony.

Vorenkamp described allegations against the Skys based on testimony of an alleged victim and seized photos.

In her argument for setting a high bail, Vorenkamp said Dick Sky had a 1984 incest conviction in Montana and had been sentenced to eight years in prison with four suspended. Within a month of his release from prison his probation was revoked on another incest charge, she said.

Vorenkamp said Cynthia Sky had a felony drug conviction in 1990, and that both defendants were flight risks.

Vorenkamp said there was evidence of more victims than a 10-year-old named by initials in the charging documents.

''There is some concern that there are other victims out there,'' Vorenkamp said.

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