Last Tuesday, Tuntutuliak resident Charlie Steven, age 43, was convicted of raping his cousin when she had blacked out after a night of drinking.
The jury found Steven guilty after sitting through weeks of charged testimony in a trial that Assistant District Attorney Dara Gibson described as “an ordeal.” The victim testified three times against her attacker. Assistant DA Gibson, who prosecuted Steven with Assistant DA Monroe Tyler, asked her detailed questions about her rape. Public Defender John Putikka asked her about her sexual history, including a sexual encounter she had had earlier that evening with someone else - information that the prosecution had not disclosed to the defense prior to the trial.
The trial took longer than expected. Witnesses were delayed by stormy weather, and on at least one occasion the case was delayed because witnesses were too intoxicated to take the stand.
Steven was found guilty of sexual assault in the second degree, a Class B Felony, and faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison. Public Defender Putikka said that Steven will most likely appeal the verdict.