This article was updated with further reporting on December 12, 2017
Kipnuk resident Nace Paul was convicted of sexual assault last night, although the jury did not find him guilty of all charges.
In the summer of 2016, Paul, age 43, slipped into his victim’s home in the early hours of the morning. He crawled into bed with her and then, allegedly, tried to rape her while she slept. Her four-year-old daughter was sound asleep next to her. According to District Attorney Steven Wallace, the woman kicked and punched Paul to get away from him, and then chased him out of her house.
At trial, Assistant Public Defender Terrence Haas argued that Paul hadn’t intended to assault the woman at all. He had meant to crawl into bed with the victim’s mother, who Haas said that Paul may have been having an affair with. According to GCI phone records obtained by the defense, the victim's mother exchanged over 500 text messages with Paul in the week preceding her daughter's assault and texted Paul moments before he entered her home.
Judge Dwayne McConnell denied Haas' request to present the text messages to the jury as evidence; the GCI records did not include the content of the messages, and McConnell said he found them to be "vague and nebulous" as a result. Haas responded by motioning for a mistrial, which McConnell denied.
The victim's mother was also caught lying on the stand about her relationship with Paul, and she eventually conceded that they were friendly with each other. In his closing argument, Haas noted that Paul was intoxicated on the night of the incident, and that the victim and her mother look very similar.
The jury found Paul guilty of sexual assault in the second degree, or initiating sexual contact with the victim without her consent, as well as burglary in the first degree. But they did not convict him of sexual assault in the first degree, attempted sexual assault in the second degree, or assault in the third degree.
This isn't the first sex crime that Paul has been convicted of. In 2005, he pled guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree; the incident involved his daughter. According to State Trooper Nicholas Hayes, Paul now faces between 15 and 30 years in prison and will most likely receive a more severe sentence, due to his past criminal history. Assistant Public Defender Haas added that Paul will likely appeal the court's decision.