Two men accused of sexual contact with 14-year-old

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks man and a Fort Wainwright soldier were arrested over the weekend on charges of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl, according to police, who said the girl was drunk but there was no indication force was involved.

One of the men, Wendell J. Ward, 23, of Fairbanks, was being held without bail at Fairbanks Correctional Center on a probation violation. The other man, Delane A. McElrath, 24, was not in custody, though police said military police, as well as his commander, had been notified that charges were pending.

The arrests came after a caller told police they had seen the girl involved in a sexual act in a vehicle with one of the men. Police went to Ward's home about 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Merideth said when they arrived at the apartment, both Ward and McElrath had been drinking, and the girl was intoxicated. ''The sexual contact was still going on when we got there,'' he said.

The girl was transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital because she was intoxicated, he said, and so she could be examined to determine what sexual contact she had had with the men.

Merideth said interviews with the girl and the two men suggested that each man had two incidents of sexual contact with the girl on Friday.

Charges of sexual abuse of a minor were expected to be filed this week.

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