A trial was scheduled to begin next Monday for a Juneau man charged with sexual abuse of a minor. That date might instead involve a guilty plea instead of the beginning of a trial, according to court records.
According to a notice filed in court this past Wednesday, Ty Grussendorf plans on pleading guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Grussendorf, 24, faces six charges of second-degree sexual assault of a minor when he was 18 and the minor was less than 13 years old. According to electronic court records, Grussendorf also faces a charge of first-degree attempted sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and five charges of possessing child pornography.
The case gained statewide attention in 2016 when Grussendorf’s father Tim, a legislative staffer, was the focus of an investigation for potentially unethical attempts to lobby for amendments to sex crime provisions in Senate Bill 91, according to an October 2016 report by KTUU. While an employee of Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, and the Senate Finance Committee, Tim Grussendorf met with multiple legislators in 2016, according to the KTUU report. He unsuccessfully lobbied to change the age of offenders from 16 or older to 19 or older, with the victim age being lowered to younger than 12 instead of 13, according to the report.
Grussendorf’s attorney John P. Cashion filed a notice Oct. 10 saying that both he and Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige had agreed that Grussendorf will plead guilty to two consolidated counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Paige declined to talk about specific details because it’s still an open case, but explained in an interview Monday that a consolidated count means that a defendant is admitting to conduct in all of the counts but will only be sentenced for one count. She said the sentencing range for second-degree sexual assault of a minor is 5-99 years in prison. Cashion, traveling for business, was not able to be reached Monday.
In the notice last week, Cashion requested that a hearing be scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22 because the jury trial was scheduled to begin then and everybody already had their schedules open that day for the trial. More details of the plea agreement will be released at that hearing, according to the notice. For now, the plea agreement is sealed, Paige said.
The case has had a long and highly publicized history, dating back to the original indictment in 2015. That indictment charged Grussendorf with six counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor, according to Empire reports.
In July 2016, Pallenberg granted a motion to dismiss the indictment because a Juneau Police Department detective gave inadmissible hearsay to the grand jury that could have influenced the decision to indict Grussendorf.
A Juneau grand jury re-indicted Grussendorf in February 2017 on the same charges, and also with second-degree sexual abuse in reference to a second victim, five charges of child pornography possession and 25 charges of indecent viewing of photography, according to an Empire report at the time. Most of those charges have been dismissed over the past year and a half, Paige said in a September interview.
A hearing had not yet been scheduled as of Monday afternoon, according to electronic court records, but Paige said she’s hopeful the hearing will happen next Monday, Oct. 22.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.