UPDATEDMurkowski Grills U.S. Attorney General on Decision Not to Prosecute Former VECO Exec Bill Allen
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski questions U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the federal decision to not prosecute former VECO exec Bill Allen for sexual abuse of a minor.
A Capitol Hill hearing took an unusual turn this morning.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) used her time at a Department of Justice budget hearing to grill U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about alleged sex crimes charges against Bill Allen, the government’s key witness in a string of Alaska public corruption trials.
Murkowski wanted to know why the DOJ decided against prosecuting Allen on claims of child sex crimes; Allen rose to fame as the head of the former oilfield service company VECO.
That notoriety soon turned to infamy. Allen became the main player in the feds’ prosecution of twelve prominent Alaskans, including current and former lawmakers as well as the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).
It was during that investigation that Anchorage police learned the feds had talked to several local women who claimed that Allen paid them for sex when they were under 18 years old.
One of those, Paula Roberds, now 26, said she was just 15 when she first met Allen for sex on a Spenard street corner. She said that the relationship carried on for at least a year and Allen paid to fly her up from Seattle for sex.
Anchorage police said they confirmed Roberd’s claims by checking Allen’s financial records and having her sketch the places the two would meet.
“Over a two-and-a-half year period, her story never changes. She’s credible,” claimed APD Detective Michele Logan.
Logan said she believes the case was strong enough that it should have at least gone to a grand jury, saying, “Lawyers have their own thing going on, but as a 16-year officer, almost ten years of that as a detective, I believe it was a good case, and others I have talked to also believe that."
Sen. Murkowski said today that she has yet to receive a good explanation as to why the Department of Justice decided not to press charges even though its own prosecutor thought it should.
Attorney General Holder said Allen’s help in the Alaska political corruption cases had no bearing on the DOJ decision not to prosecute him on the child sex claims.
“Decisions to decline prosecutions or not go forward with cases are made strictly on that basis, not in regard to political persuasion or the role that somebody has played. If a case could be made, a case would be brought,” said Holder.
For her part, Sen. Murkowski said she will continue to press the issue with the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility.
Attorneys for Bill Allen did not answer repeated attempts to contact them today.
The state has opened its own investigation into the claims against Bill Allen.
KTVA CBS 11 will report more on the investigation Friday.