A convicted sex offender from Iowa told Anchorage police that he moved to Alaska for a "fresh start," but he was only here for a matter of days before another child became a victim. 

According to court documents, 39-year-old Richard Abrahamson babysat a woman's son for a weekend in April 2016, when they were all staying at the Qupqugiac Inn. 

The following Tuesday, the mother contacted APD to report her son told her he had been touched inappropriately.   

According to a bail memorandum filed in the case: 

"[The victim] was taken for a child forensic interview and examination at Alaska CARES and disclosed that ABRAHAMSON had engaged in sexual contact and penetration while acting as [the victim's] babysitter..." 

The boy also said Abrahamson had taken photos of him using a green Samsung cell phone, which APD's Cyber Crimes Unit was able to obtain and analyze. 

According to the memorandum, one of the photos generated a time stamp and GPS coordinates that corresponded to the hotel on the weekend Abrahamson was babysitting the boy: 

"That exploitative photograph of [the victim] taken April 10 was labeled by ABRAHAMSON 'Meine Liebst.jpg', which means 'My Love' in German." 

Tuesday, a jury convicted Abrahamson on all counts charged, which includes six felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one felony count of exploitation of a minor. 

Jenna Gruenstein, with the Office of Special Prosecutions, said Abraham is facing a sentence in the neighborhood of 38 years. 

"This was very serious behavior targeted at a juvenile who he hadn't know for very long," she said. "I think anybody who commits these types of offenses is a danger. They certainly have very long-lasting impacts on the victims of this type of abuse." 

According to court documents, Abrahamson was convicted of sexual abuse in 1995, when he was 15 years old. Abrahamson broke into a neighborhood home, kidnapped a 10-year-old boy, then sexually abused him. 

When questioned by detectives, Abrahamson said he came to Alaska because he believed he wouldn't be required to register as a sex offender since he was adjudicated as a juvenile. 

He was right. 

Public safety officials say out-of-state juveniles adjudicated with a sex offense in the juvenile court system are not required to register as sex offenders in Alaska, including juveniles who commit rape. They say the same rules apply to juvenile offenders in Alaska. 

The State of Alaska knows there have been issues with out-of-state sex offenders not having to register when they come to Alaska. State leaders acknowledged the problem following a state Supreme Court ruling from summer 2018.

The state wanted two sex offenders from Washington and California, with offenses against minors, to register and be listed on Alaska's public sex offender website. In the case, the Department of Public Safety argued that the convictions of the men were similar to Alaska's laws. However, the court said neither of those states' laws, under which the men were convicted, were similar enough to the relevant Alaska law which would have required the men to register.

Other states have passed stronger legislation that requires offenders to register in other states, which the court mentioned in its opinion.

"Several states have passed laws requiring out-of-state sex offenders to register for any offense that was registrable in the state of conviction," Alaska judges wrote in the State Supreme Court opinion, citing an opinion from New Mexico's Supreme Court.

The court's opinion went on to cite Alaska's current law.

"Alaska's statute contains no comparable language requiring out-of-state sex offenders to register in Alaska for any offense for which they were required to register as a sex offender in the state of conviction, nor does Alaska's statute permit the court to consider the factual conduct giving rise to the out-of-state sex offense conviction," the opinion reads.

In the absence of "comparable language" in Alaska law, the state supreme court's conclusion was that neither man would be legally obligated to register as sex offenders, reversing a superior court decision that required one of them to do so.

One of four crime bills Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy rolled out this month includes a provision that would change the law in response to the ruling, and require anyone registered as a sex offender in another state to also register in Alaska. 

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson said the measure is designed to, "fill the hole that exists in Alaska law that encourages sex offenders to come to Alaska." 

Former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, had announced plans to address the problem in October, before he suspended his campaign for re-election. 

On Friday, a spokesperson for the governor said the new laws won't make a difference when it comes to sex offenders who committed their crimes as juveniles. In an email, press secretary Matt Shuckerow wrote, "The short answer is that the bill does not require an individual convicted as a juvenile to register."

If passed, the bill as written would adjust the statutes in response to an Alaska Supreme Court ruling that makes it difficult for the state to force people with out-of-state convictions for sex crimes to register.

The legislation still won't affect offenders like Abrahamson who are able to escape the registry and fly under the radar in Alaska.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a response from Gov. Dunleavy's office.

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