The city of Kenai and one of its police officers are close to settling out of court a civil lawsuit brought against them by a former Kenai woman, according to city attorney Carey Graves.
The suit stems from 1996, when officer Mitchell Langseth was accused of raping Kristie Gerow on Floatplane Road.
"A settlement is under way, but the final documents haven't been prepared or signed," Graves said. "It's been approved in principal, and they are seeking court approval."
Langseth's wife said the couple had no comment.
The settlement is being prepared by Gerow's Anchorage attorney, Phillip Weidner, and the city's insurance company, Graves said.
Weidner had no immediate comment.
Graves said the settlement covers both Langseth and the city and protects from future litigation other parties that were named as defendants but who have since been dismissed.
Besides the city and Langseth, several other KPD officers were named as defendants, as well as Chief Dan Morris, for allegedly mishandling the investigation into Gerow's charges. Mayor John Williams, unnamed members of the Kenai City Council, a former Kenai assistant district attorney, five Alaska State Troopers and the state of Alaska also were named in Gerow's suit.
The council was named, according to the complaint, because it discussed the case and used Gerow's name in open session at a city council meeting.
Chief Morris declined to comment on the case on Wednesday.
The charges arose from an encounter between Langseth and Gerow on April 28, 1996. In the complaint, Langseth admits having consensual sex with Gerow, while she maintains it was a forcible rape. Langseth was never criminally charged. He is still employed by the city of Kenai. Gerow has since moved to Anchorage.
Graves said he expects the settlement to be signed sometime next week, and details will be available then.
He said the details of the settlement will be made public because an Alaska Supreme Court ruling bars municipalities from having private settlements.
Peninsula Clarion reporter McKibben Jackinsky contributed to this story.
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