Perkins quits after harassment charges

Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Facing harassment charges over allegations that he inappropriately touched two women, Gov. Tony Knowles' new legislative director has stepped down after less than a month on the job.

Dwight Perkins withdrew his acceptance of the job in a memo to Jim Ayers, Knowles' chief of staff, that was released Tuesday by the governor's office.

''The time needed to respond to these personal matters may pose an impediment to my ability to accomplish the legislative goals that the governor has established for Alaska's families and children,'' Perkins wrote.

Bob King, Knowles' press secretary, said the decision that Perkins should step aside was mutual.

''We both concluded that given these circumstances Dwight would be unable to fully commit the time that's necessary,'' King said. ''He needs to focus more time on his personal matters.''

In the memo, Perkins said he had been offered a job as an assistant to Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Ed Flanagan. Perkins was the department's deputy commissioner until he was named to replace Pat Pourchot as legislative director last month.

Perkins, 47, pleaded innocent in Juneau District Court last week to two charges of harassment, a misdemeanor. He was ordered not to have contact with his accusers, whose names are confidential under state law.

Perkins served two terms on the Juneau Assembly and is a former deputy commissioner for the Department of Labor.

Perkins has declined to address the substance of the allegations against him, citing the advice of his attorney, but called them ''shocking to me.''

According to the complaint, Perkins made an unwanted physical advance toward a woman Oct. 1 while they were opening a building for a meeting.

After the woman commented that she was leaving the organization she was with, Perkins said he hated to see her leave and asked her for a hug, according to the complaint.

The woman said he hugged for so long that she felt uncomfortable and stepped back. She told police that Perkins then stepped close, rubbed his body against her, fondled her breast and said he wanted to have sex with her, according to the complaint.

Police later obtained a search warrant and recorded a conversation between Perkins and the woman in which he admitted saying he wanted to have sex with her but said he did not recall fondling her breast, according to the complaint.

The complaint also cites a second woman who said Perkins improperly touched her between July 1999 and March.

Perkins has said he doesn't know if he will fight the charges at a trial. His next scheduled court appearance is Jan. 2. The maximum penalty for one count of harassment is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.



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