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Alaska anti-crime activist cleared of sex assault
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Anchorage man once known an as anti-crime crusader has been acquitted of two sexual assault charges, though jurors deadlocked on a third count, leaving open the possibility of a new trial.
Dwight “Sam” O'Connor, 54, served a decade on the Anchorage Public Safety Advisory Commission before he was accused of rape in 2011. The woman who accused O'Connor said she was picked up early one morning by a man she didn’t know, taken to a locked construction yard and raped.
She provided a description of the man to police.
An Anchorage Superior Court jury returned its verdict Friday after a two-week trial, The Anchorage Daily News reported (http://is.gd/Chyfy8 ). Prosecutors said they expect to decide by early next month whether to retry O'Connor on the third count.
“We have to consult with the victim, who of course would have to go through it again. That’s a factor we have to consider,” Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion said. The woman testified at the trial.
“Nobody is in a right frame of mind after a verdict to make a final decision,” Campion said.
O'Connor, now 54, did not testify at the trial, but he presented a defense that the encounter was consensual, the prosecutor said.
The allegations stunned Anchorage political and community leaders.
As head of the Westside Community Patrol, he made a name for himself trying to eradicate prostitution in the Spenard neighborhood. Mayor Dan Sullivan said he was saddened by the arrest.
Some who knew O'Connor well, including an ex-wife, said at the time of his arrest that they doubted the charges were true.
The woman who accused him said she had asked for a ride to a friend’s house, but she was taken to the construction yard instead. The man dropped her off near a friend’s house afterward, she said.
The three sexual-assault charges stemmed from different prosecution theories of how the crime occurred, Campion said.
Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com
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