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Press Release

Bethel Man found Guilty of Felony Sexual Assault

July 01, 2021

(Bethel, Alaska) – On June 29, 2021, a Bethel jury found 33-year-old Clarence E. James guilty of sexual assault in the second degree and incest after a two-and-a-half week trial. The convictions were related to an event in 2017 where Mr. James sexually assaulted the victim as she slept at a residence in Tununak.

Assistant Attorney General Bailey Woolfstead and Assistant District Attorney Izaak Bruce prosecuted this case. AAG Woolfstead is part of the rural prosecution unit in the state’s Office of Special Prosecutions. That unit provides additional resources to prosecute sexual assault, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and violent crime cases in rural Alaska. ADA Bruce is a prosecutor in the Bethel District Attorney’s Office. The case involved testimony from witnesses, a sexual assault nurse examiner, the Alaska State Troopers, the Alaska State Crime Detection Laboratory, and Sorenson Laboratory.

Mr. James will be held in custody without bail pending sentencing. He faces a sentencing range of 20-35 years with a maximum of 99 years. Sentencing is scheduled for December 10, 2021 before Judge Nathaniel Peters in the Bethel Superior Court.

This was the 11th criminal jury trial in Bethel after the Alaska Court System’s COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

After the verdict, Mr. James was remanded to the Department of Corrections. Once he arrived at YK Correctional Center, he ran from custody. He was apprehended and is now facing an additional charge of Escape in the Second Degree in case 4BE-21-00609CR. Mr. James is presumed innocent in that case, and he is entitled to a fair trial at which the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

CONTACT: Bethel District Attorney’s Office (907) 543-2055.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Grace Lee.