Press Release

Prosecutors Pursuing Lengthy Sentences in Sexual Assault Cases

April 21, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska – State prosecutors remain in aggressive pursuit of lengthy prison sentences for sex offenders, with one man recently sentenced to serve 38 years in prison and another likely facing 99 years.

In Fairbanks Superior Court April 19, Gareth Demoski, 22, learned his fate for committing seven different crimes, including two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and two counts in the second degree, involving conduct against two different victims, both of whom were intoxicated and asleep.

Assistant District Attorneys Sara Simpson and Renner Eberlein argued that despite Demoski's young age he remains extremely dangerous. Judge Olsen concluded that Demoski lacked empathy for his victims and sentenced him to 58.5 years in prison, with 20 years suspended and 15 years of probation. The time-to-serve of 38.5 years is five years more than recommended in the presentencing report.

Last Friday, a Kotzebue jury convicted James Phillips of 13 felonies, seven counts of which were sexual assaults in the second degree and sexual abuses of a minor in the third degree, involving four teenage girls on four separate occasions. Prior to trial the defendant pled no contest to one misdemeanor count of failure to register as a sex offender.  

"The defendant has five prior rape and rape-related convictions from Oklahoma and Kansas and should be subject to the mandatory 99-year minimum sentence," said Rick Svobodny, deputy attorney general for the criminal division of the Department of Law. "With tough new laws, and with Governor Parnell's commitment to ending the epidemic of sexual violence in Alaska within 10 years, we've put potential offenders on notice that if they commit these crimes they might well end up in prison for the rest of their lives."

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