Soldotna man found guilty of assault, 3 counts of sexual abuse

Old abuse case finally resolved

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

A 48-year-old Soldotna man was found guilty of three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree assault Friday at the Kenai Courthouse.

The defendant, Kenneth Binga-man, faces the possibility of up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines for each of the sexual abuse charges and up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine for the assault charge.

"The jury went out early Thursday afternoon and came back Friday afternoon around the end of the normal business day," District Attorney Dwayne McConnell said. "They found him guilty on all four counts."

According to McConnell, Bingaman's trial was originally slated to begin in early 1998 but was delayed because of questions about the admissibility of testimony involving two women who stated Bingaman had assaulted them as well. The trial court in Kenai was not sure if the testimony of the two women was admissible. The evidence was sent to the Alaska Court of Appeals, where it was reviewed and confirmed as admissible.

"The Bingaman trial set precedence in the state of Alaska for making it clear that past incidents of violence toward people can be used in trial," McConnell said. "To simplify what happened in the Bingaman trial, two women said he assaulted them between x and y periods of time."

Bingaman was found guilty on charges stemming from an Alaska State Trooper investigation that led to his arrest in 1997 on a charge of sexually abusing a minor. According to his indictment, handed down in August of 1997, Bingaman had sexual contact with a female minor over whom he had authority in the fall and winter of 1995 and the summer of 1996. The assault charge stemmed from an incident in which Bingaman threatened a Soldotna with a shotgun in the fall of 1996.

Bingaman is currently being held, but can be released on $50,000 bail and into the custody of a court-approved third-party custodian.

"That means that a person will have to agree to be with Mr. Bingaman 24 hours a day," McConnell said. "The custodian has to be a person that the judge approves. If Mr. Bingaman is found to be without that person he will have to go back to jail."

Kenai attorney Carol Brenckle, who represented Bingaman, did not return several phone calls Monday and Tuesday.

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