Alaska Judge Tosses Out Sex Abuse Case For Former Acting Attorney General Due To Statute Of Limitations

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An Alaskan judge has dismissed a sex abuse case brought against a former acting Alaska attorney general due to statute of limitations laws in place when the abuse allegedly occurred 30 years ago.

Clyde “Ed” Sniffen, who was the state’s acting attorney general from Aug. 2020 until Jan. 2021, was indicted by a grand jury in 2022 on three felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor, according to ABC News. Sniffen, 58, was accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old student in 1991 while he was in his mid-30s and was serving as a coach for the West Anchorage High School’s mock trial team, Anchorage Daily News reported. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Though Alaska does not currently have a statute of limitations in place for sexual abuse of minors, Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren said a five-year statute of limitations did exist in 1991 when the abuse allegedly occurred. As such, Ramgren contended too much time had passed for Sniffen to be charged, according to Anchorage Daily News.

“The court finds the applicable statutes and legislative history indicate these changes cannot be applied to the alleged offenses,” Ramgren wrote. “For that reason, the statute of limitations governing Mr. Sniffen’s conduct has expired and he cannot be subject to indictment.” (RELATED: Hundreds Of Women To Sue New York Over Alleged Sex Abuse In State Prisons)

The alleged victim, Nikki Dougherty White, went public with her claims after learning that Sniffen had been nominated in Jan. 2021 to be the state’s next attorney general, according to ABC News. Sniffen withdrew from consideration after news of White’s allegations broke. White told reporters that she and Sniffen dated from 1991 to 1993, and public records show that they lived together for a time after she turned 18, according to the Daily News.

Despite being disappointed by the judge’s ruling White stated she does not regret going public when she did. “Because the truth is important,” White told the Anchorage Daily News. “And because Alaska has too long been a place that favors abusers, that does not provide a safe space for victims, for women, for girls, for anybody who doesn’t fit, you know, the white male profile,” she continued.

“The Alaska judicial system isn’t built for us and it doesn’t protect us,” White concluded.