On Sunday, Alaska Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren announced he had dismissed the sexual abuse case brought against former Alaska Attorney General Clyde “Ed” Sniffen because a five-year statute of limitations guideline was in place when Sniffen allegedly committed the crime.
According to the Daily Caller, Sniffen was indicted by a grand jury in 2022 on three felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Anchorage Daily reported that the crimes allegedly occurred in 1991 when Sniffen was in his mid-30s and serving as a coach for the West Anchorage High School mock trial team.
Sniffen pleaded not guilty to the charges.
When the grand jury issued their indictment, Alaska did not have a statute of limitations provision for sexual abuse cases. However, Ramgren noted that when Sniffen allegedly committed the crimes, Alaska had a five-year statute of limitations and therefore he had no choice but to dismiss the case.
Ramgren wrote: “The court finds the applicable statutes and legislative history indicate these changes cannot be applied to the alleged offenses.”
Ramgren added: “For that reason, the statute of limitations governing Mr. Sniffen’s conduct has expired, and he cannot be subject to indictment.”
Nikki Dougherty White, the plaintiff in the case, went public with her claims after learning in early 2021 that Sniffen was nominated to serve as the state’s attorney general.
Sniffen served as attorney general on an interim basis, but according to ABC News, he withdrew from consideration after White went public with her claims.
White alleges that she and Sniffen dated between 1991-1993. The Daily News reported public records show White and Sniffen briefly shared a residence after White turned 18.
White reportedly has no regrets regarding going public with her claims, though she is disappointed by the judge’s ruling. White told the Anchorage Daily News “the truth is important.”
She added: “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. Alaska’s judicial system isn’t built for us, and it doesn’t protect us.”
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