Man Who Sexually Assaulted Drunk Teens Gets 119 Years Behind Bars
Man sentenced for multiple counts of sexual assault.
Original article posted Sept. 3, 2010
(Kotzebue, Alaska) - Thursday afternoon in the superior court in Kotzebue, 54 year old James Phillips was sentenced to serve 116 years for four counts of sexual assault; sexual assault of a minor and six counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Phillips was sentenced under the new sentencing laws under which a defendant must be sentenced to 99 years if he has two or more felony convictions. Under these laws, Phillips is not eligible for parole.
These convictions were made after months of Investigative work by the Kotzebue Police Department.
Investigator Rabender stated that this case not only impacted the individuals involved but the entire community. Investigator Rabender stated that Phillips used alcohol and exploited these young girls for his own sexual gratification.
Rabender said that this was a classic case of a serial predator who exploited these young girls utilizing alcohol as the driving force behind these assaults.
Phillips was a convicted sex offender who re-located to Kotzebue three years ago from Oklahoma. While in Oklahoma and Kansas Phillips was convicted and incarcerated for five sex assaults on young women.
The five- time convicted felon came to Kotzebue to live with his brother. Phillips failed to register as a sex offender and was living in Kotzebue unsupervised.
Phillips was employed at the local grocery store where he befriended these young girls. According to the witnesses' statements, Phillips would invite the girls to his residence on the pretext of partying and drinking.
Once intoxicated, Phillips would engage in sexual activities with them. Some of the young girls were passed out and incapacitated. The young girls involved were ages 14, 15, 17, and 19.
Many of the victims did not want to come forward and tell Investigators what had happened. Most of the victims felt that since they were intoxicated, the opinion of the community would be that they deserved what happened to them.
The case was investigated because law enforcement officers understand that being intoxicated does not in any way justify what happened to these victims.
Investigator Rabender was very pleased with the sentencing. Phillips will never be able to victimize any young girls again. The sentencing also demonstrated to the community that the Police Department will listen and protect the citizens of Kotzebue.
All of us at the Police Department have sworn an oath, Rabender said, to protect the citizens of Kotzebue and hoped that this case demonstrates the Police Department's dedication to the community.
It has also sent out a message that as a community we are not going to tolerate this type of behavior.
Investigator Rabender stated that he is very proud of the young girls and the witnesses that came forward and testified. The young girls showed tremendous courage to come forward.
Rabender stated that the most gratifying aspect of this case was when one of the young victims came up to him and thanked him for believing in her. She stated to Rabender that he had kept his word to help her and she was grateful.