Juneau man indicted on 40 counts of child porn, sexual abuse of a minor

  • By LIZ KELLAR
  • Thursday, February 2, 2017 8:39pm
  • News

A Juneau man whose initial criminal case, involving the alleged sexual abuse of a minor when he was 18 and she was younger than 13, was dismissed last year is now facing the same charges — plus 33 more.

Ty Alexander Grussendorf, 22, was re-indicted Wednesday by a Juneau grand jury on the same seven counts that he faced in 2015: six counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.

The new charges include three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree for a different victim, in the same age range as the first victim. (The Empire is not giving the exact ages of either alleged victim to avoid possible identification of a sex abuse victim.) He was also charged with five counts of possession of child pornography and 25 counts of felony indecent viewing of photography. All of the counts relate to actions that allegedly took place when Grussendorf was 18.

Juneau Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige declined to comment on the charges Thursday because it is an open case. The Empire has reached out to Grussendorf for comment. The Empire also left an after-hours voicemail for his listed attorney, John Cashion.

The initial case against Grussendorf was filed in 2015. The girl came forward with the allegations regarding the incidents, which she said happened two years earlier.

In July of last year, Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg granted a motion to dismiss the indictment because inadmissible hearsay evidence was introduced to the grand jury that could have influenced the decision to indict Grussendorf. Pallenberg ruled a Juneau police detective provided hearsay testimony that the alleged victim had confided in a friend about the incidents in July 2013, which corroborated the girl’s recollection of the date.

The alleged victim had testified to the grand jury at the time that she never lied about her age and said “he knew what school I went to and how old I was,” Pallenberg’s ruling read.

The dates of the sexual contact were critical, Pallenberg noted, because the alleged victim showed “apparent uncertainty” about the year. If the events occurred in 2014, the offense would have dropped to a second degree sexual abuse of a minor. And if the events occurred in early 2012, the defendant would have been younger than 18 and would have had more procedural protections.

The ages of the alleged victim and Grussendorf formed the underlying basis of an investigation last fall into potentially unethical attempts of his father, a legislative staffer, to lobby for amendments to sex crime provisions in SB 91.

Tim Grussendorf, while an employee of Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, and the Senate Finance Committee, met with multiple legislators last year, according to a lengthy report by KTUU. Tim Grussendorf hoped to change the law 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 younger than 13. Tim Grussendorf maintained to KTUU reporters that he did nothing wrong — and the change he sought went nowhere.

In July, when Pallenberg granted the motion to dismiss the 2015 indictment, prosecutors were already signaling their intent to seek a new indictment and said they were investigating new potential charges.

At a Jan. 5 hearing, ADA Paige told Judge Pallenberg there was an ongoing investigation into electronic evidence that came in “at the tail end” that revealed potential victims, according to a transcript of the hearing.

A summons has been issued on the new indictment and an arraignment date has not yet been set.

• Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 523-2246 or at liz.kellar@juneauempire.com

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