ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Prosecutors have dropped all felony charges against a former Anchorage police officer accused of having sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl.
Instead, William ''Chris'' Goldberg, 32, will be allowed to plead no contest to a single misdemeanor charge of attempted tampering with a witness.
Goldberg had originally been charged with seven felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor. He resigned from the Anchorage Police Department less than a week after initial charges were lodged in June 2001.
According to court filings by the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, charges are being reduced because prosecutors doubt they can convince a jury that Goldberg knew the girl's age and because the victim has never been interested in pursuing charges against him.
''But ''She remembers this as basically a dating experience. She never came forward,'' said Assistant Attorney General Brian Clark.
Clark also noted that Goldberg is no longer a police officer and has lost the certification required for him to be one in Alaska.
Though 16 is the age of consent in Alaska, it rises to 18 if the older partner is in a position of authority or trust. Goldberg was charged because he was a police officer.
In pretrial motions, his lawyers argued that he had not violated the law because his relationship with the 16-year-old was strictly social and did not involve any official police work, though he was in uniform and on duty when he met her and during several early meetings.
According to the charges, Goldberg met the teenager in November 1997 while she was on a smoking break at the Eagle River Carrs, where she worked as a bagger. He drove up and started talking to her, asked how old she was and she said 17. She was actually 15.
She and Goldberg began seeing each other occasionally. She told him she would be 18 on Feb. 21. He said they would wait until after then to have sex. A sexual relationship began then and continued into 1998, the charges say.
The investigation of Goldberg began in 2001, about three years after the relationship, after a chance remark by the girl to another officer about having dated Goldberg. He denied the relationship when questioned by Internal Affairs, but the girl agreed to wear a wire and police recorded him urging her to deny the sex.
The witness-tampering charge that Goldberg is scheduled to plead to on Monday arises from the taped conversation.
The girl apparently broke up with Goldberg in 1998 and married someone else soon after.
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