KENAI (AP) -- A former Salvation Army captain has pleaded no contest to sexual abuse of a minor.
Cleland Troy Trickel, 44, was suspended from his position as captain for The Salvation Army in Kenai after he was indicted in February on four counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
The indictment charged Trickel with knowingly engaging in sexual contact with A.L., who was less than 13 years old, in May and August 1999; with A.P.L., a 14-year-old member of his congregation in 1999; and with B.J., who was less than 13 years old, in 1999; all in the Kenai area.
Trickel pleaded not guilty to all four counts.
During a change of plea hearing Tuesday, Trickel pleaded no contest to a single consolidated count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Kenai Superior Court Judge Jonathan Link asked Assistant District Attorney Leslie Dickson whether she had any objection to allowing Trickel to be released to a third-party custodian pending sentencing.
However, defense attorney Allan Beiswenger said Trickel was prepared to be remanded to the Department of Corrections.
Trickel, silver-haired and wearing a plaid sport shirt, turned to his wife in the gallery and silently mouthed, ''I love you,'' before walking out in the custody of an Alaska State Trooper. Debra Trickel covered her eyes and cried.
With the charges consolidated into a single count, Trickel will be subject to a single sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
The state made no agreements concerning sentencing, Dickson said.
Trickel is a first-time offender, she said.
Beiswenger said Trickel changed his plea because ''he just felt he made a horrible mistake and was responsible. He's owning up and taking responsibility.''
''He acknowledges he did wrong and he is willing to accept whatever is the appropriate punishment,'' Beiswenger said. ''He'd like to accept whatever sentence is appropriate and begin serving.''
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