Man accused of sexually assaulting 10 young women in Anchorage
Last updated at 11:24 a.m. on Thursday, April 13
ANCHORAGE — A 19-year-old man was indicted for sexually assaulting 10 teenage girls and young women, in Anchorage, from 2014 to 2016, according to the district attorney’s office.
Jim Persey was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on 24 counts, 13 of which are first-degree sexual assault.
Last spring, two women reported that they’d been assaulted by Persey; one stated she’d been sexually assaulted in March 2016 and the other stated she’d been attacked in April 2016. Then, on April 14, 2016, Persey was arrested and Anchorage police warned the public he could have more victims.
The district attorney’s office says eight more women came forward and reported sexual assault. The police department’s special victims unit investigated the womens’ claims for months before his indictment, nearly one year after his initial arrest.
“There’s many reason why a person delays in reporting sexual assault. One of the things is fear; often they fear that there will be repercussions to them or their family,” said Gustaf Olson with the Anchorage district attorney’s office. “In this case, many felt that it was the appropriate time once he was arrested to make the report.”
Initial reports from investigators alleged that Persey met at least one victim on a dating app called “Meetme.” According to an affidavit, his victim was 20 at the time of the April attack. She told detectives she’d met him before and things began consensually — then turned violent. She told detectives he hit her in the face multiple times, pinned her down by her wrists, held a knife to her, strangled her to the point she blacked out, and forced her to have anal sex. The court document says, she told detectives she told him to stop, but he wouldn’t.
“Consent can not be assumed. Consent has to be vocalized at each level and at each type of sexual encounter that occurs,” said Olson. “You can withdraw consent at anytime … and if a person doesn’t honor that, you’ve been the victim of a sexual offense, and you should report that.”
Charging documents show when Persey was done, he wouldn’t let the victim leave immediately, but she escaped when he was sleeping. She underwent a medical evaluation, where healthcare professionals documented bruising and abrasions on her body, the document says.
When detectives were investigating her case, they discovered that Persey had been a part of another sexual assault investigation.
On April 4, 2016, an 18-year-old woman reported she had been in a consensual relationship with Persey, but he had assaulted her more than once. She told police that on two separate occasions in late-March, Persey forced her to perform oral sex. According to the affidavit, he choked her.
“(She) said when she threatened to yell for help he covered her mouth,” the affidavit says. “She stated that at one point JIM was ‘choking’ her so forcefully that she saw ‘stars’ and was losing her strength to fight him.”
When police interviewed Persey, the affidavit says, he said sex with both women was consensual. He admitted to striking the then 20-year-old, said he ‘accidentally’ had anal sex with her, and explained he was mad when he held a knife to her.
“…He did take a knife out which he held in his hand while he was ‘venting’ about Natives getting free health care,” the court document explains.
Only few details into the assault of the other women who came forward later were immediately available. But in the indictment, it shows that all of his victims were teenagers or young adults, between the ages of 15 and 20.
Olson says multiple victims reported some of the same offenses.
“It’s not just one particular victim who said this type of a situation occurred to her,” he said. “The different techniques and the different controlling mechanisms used were also used in these other victims as well.”
Available court documents don’t specify how he met the other victims, but that he sexually assaulted all of them, in a variety of ways, without their consent.
In addition to the more than a dozen first-degree sexual assault changes, he’s also facing charges for first-degree attempted sexual assault, second-degree assault, second-degree sexual assault, and third-degree assault.
If convicted, Persey could spent up to 99 years behind bars.
Persey remains in custody. His bail has been set at $100,000, plus a third-party custodian. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Friday at 10 a.m.
The district attorney’s office and Anchorage police believe there could still be more victims who’ve yet to come forward. They advised that any victim of sexual assault call 911 and anyone with information relevant to Persey’s case call detective Chris Thomas at 907-786-8900.
KTVA 11’s Sierra Starks contributed to this report.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.
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