Alleged serial rapist known to authorities roamed Anchorage freely for months
Graphic Content Warning: This article contains explicit descriptions of sexual assault that might be difficult for some readers.
One woman crawled out from under the trees in Anchorage's Town Square Park, screaming for help. She had been raped.
A different woman desperately tried to fight off her attacker in the back of a van, ignored by two witnesses in the front seat. She was also raped.
Another woman was raped too, but information about the attack is not included in court documents. That's because she died while waiting for justice.
Connected by sexual assaults that span the last decade, the women don't know each other. They didn't know their attacker either. But police and prosecutors believe they do know the suspect.
They have for some time.
Alphonso Mosley III is linked to the rapes through DNA evidence. A grand jury indicted him on first-degree sexual assault charges in August.
Mosley is in custody now, but he was allowed to roam Anchorage freely for more than eight months after Anchorage police detectives learned his DNA implicated him in three sexual assaults, and forwarded charges to the Department of Law.
During that time, a fourth woman was raped.
A Silent Threat
According to a bail memorandum filed by prosecutors, "There is a common theme among the three charged sexual assaults - the defendant waited until these women were unable to fight him off due to intoxication and took the opportunity to force himself upon them. He is an opportunist who seeks out vulnerable women and has done so repeatedly."
The first known rape in which Mosley, 34, is a suspect occurred in 2009. Little information is available about the case. According to APD, the victim has since died. An open records request filed on Aug. 28 seeking public information about the assault has not been fulfilled by the department.
In 2012, a woman was attacked downtown. According to the bail memo, she got separated from her sober friend during bar break. She was approached by two men. One of them was an African American man. They asked her about her relationship status and where she lived.
"[The woman's] next memory is waking up in Town Square with the African-American male, who was much larger than her, on top of her and having vaginal intercourse with her. [The woman] began to try to fight him off, but his strength overcame her attempts to end the rape. He held her down, he subdued her, and he forcefully raped her. [The woman] lost consciousness during the rape and awoke to an APD officer standing beside her. Three eyewitnesses called 911 and reported that they observed [the woman] crawling out from underneath the trees in Town Square and yelling "Call 9-1-1, I was just raped." They observed that [the woman] was crying and screaming. [The woman], still under the intoxicating effects of alcohol and the overwhelming effects of trauma, was afraid of the police officer until she realized help had arrived. [The woman] provided a suspect description and underwent a SART exam. No suspect was identified until October of 2018."
The same document describes the third known sexual assault, in September 2017. A woman went to the Alaska Native Medical Center emergency room to report she had been raped, according to the bail memo. She told detectives she had been walking near the Fred Meyer on Northern Lights Boulevard when two men she recognized invited her to drink alcohol in a van with them. She said a third man who she did not know was also in the van. He invited her to the back seat to partake in drugs and alcohol.
"She got in the backseat and he started to grab her breast. He began touching her and kissing her. She tried to get up to get out repeatedly and the Defendant forcefully grabbed her and pulled her down. [The woman] repeatedly told him she did not want to do anything with him. The Defendant told her 'let me feel my high' and forced her head onto his penis in order to get an erection. He then forcefully pulled down her pants, spit into her vagina, and had genital intercourse with her while holding her down. The other two men in the van were high and, as [the woman] described it, did not seem like they wanted to know what was going on. Distraught, [the woman] was able to get out after the sexual assault and went to the emergency room. [The woman] underwent a SART exam."
According to the document, detectives identified Mosley as a suspect in the 2017 rape and confronted him. Mosley allegedly told police the woman wanted him to have sex with her and had demanded it, saying, "That's how women get."
Detectives collected a DNA sample from Mosley and in October 2018, the Department of Public Safety notified them that the sample linked Mosley to the 2017 rape, along with the two unsolved rapes from 2009 and 2012.
In an email, APD spokesperson MJ Thim wrote, "On November 29th, 2018, after all three cases had been extensively researched (including the DNA samples collected by our partners at DPS and the Department of Corrections), detectives officially linked the suspect to the 2009, 2012, and 2017 cases and referred charges to our partners at the Department of Law (DOL)."
Despite the charges APD forwarded to the DOL, nothing happened to Mosley at the time.
He continued to roam Anchorage freely — 165 days later, a fourth woman was raped.
"He is an opportunist who seeks out vulnerable women and has done so repeatedly."
In May 2019, a woman reported waking up on Third Avenue near the Anchorage jail after she had been drinking. According to the bail memo, a man was with her and offered her alcohol. She accepted.
"The man asked her if he could have sex with her, she refused. He asked her if he could pay her for sex, she refused. He then began pulling her pants down. She tried to pull her pants up and he took both of her arms and pinned them down with his hand. He used his other hand to force her pants down and force his penis inside of her. [The woman] tried to scream, but he covered her mouth with his other hand. She tried to get out from underneath him, but he was larger than her and she believed she was going to be killed. [The woman] lost consciousness and woke up to him having sex with her again. When she fully regained consciousness, she was naked from the waist down and covered with two jackets. [The woman] got up and walked to Anchorage Safety Patrol where she reported the sexual assault. [The woman] underwent a SART exam and in July of 2019, an investigative lead informed Detectives that the DNA collected from [the woman] presumptively matched Alphonso Mosely."
The document describes the woman as developmentally disabled with a legal guardian. When police located Mosley to ask about the assault, he recognized her as "that 'retarded' girl" and denied having sexual contact with her.
"After being confronted with the possibility that his DNA was found on vaginal swabs, the defendant said that [the woman] was the aggressor and made him have sex with her," the bail memo states.
According to the document, the woman identified Mosley out of a double-blind line up "confidently and immediately."
Later the woman said Mosley found her again, approached her, and told her to go express to detectives that she did not want to press charges.
In August 2019, a grand jury indicted Mosley on first-degree sexual assault charges in the 2012, 2017 and 2019 cases.
Once he was in custody, the community learned about the rapes and Mosley for the first time when APD sent out a Nixle alert urging other possible victims to come forward.
'Clear and present danger'
The bail memo claims, "Over the past ten years, the Defendant has sexually assaulted at least four women. Nothing suggests that he will stop. He presents a clear and present danger to the citizens, particularly women, of Anchorage."
In an emailed statement regarding the timeline of the investigation into the sexual assaults, APD spokesperson Thim wrote, "Detectives exercised due diligence to ensure the DOL had the strongest case possible to prosecute and reduce the possibility of dismissal in the three complex cases, which could have led to the suspect's immediate release from jail. For that reason, detectives did not make an arrest at that time, pending communication from the DOL. We continued to communicate with the DOL about the status of the case and moving forward with an arrest."
Thim continued, "We are constantly seeking to improve our internal processes and our interaction with our partner agencies. As a result, we have made recent changes such as biweekly case review meetings with the DOL and closer collaboration with both agencies on DNA testing procedures."
Both APD and the DOL refused to provide interviews regarding the timeline of the case against Mosley, or directly answer questions about why the case was not prosecuted in November 2018, after DNA linked Mosley to three sexual assaults, and before a fourth one occurred.
In an email, DOL spokesperson Cori Mills said discussing the case could jeopardize Mosley's right to a fair trial. She pointed to a statement in the bail memo that seems to be an explanation offered by the prosecutor as to why there was a several months-long delay in taking the case to a grand jury.
The bail memo claims that after Mosley's DNA was collected in 2018 and found to be linked to three sexual assaults, "That information had to be confirmed through further DNA analysis. That analysis was not completed until July of 2019."
Mills wrote in an email, "These portions of the bail memorandum refer to collection of Mr. Mosley’s DNA sample, which was not obtained until July 2019."
However, according to the Department of Corrections (DOC), the state had already collected Mosley's DNA twice — once in 2012 and again in 2018.
Mills did not respond to questions about why a third DNA sample was needed, and it is unclear why the sample was not collected until July of 2019, as Mosley had contact with authorities before then.
According to DOC records, Mosley was arrested on April 5, 2019. He served time in jail and at Cordova Center, a halfway house, before being discharged on April 14 — a month before the fourth rape.
"Nothing suggests that he will stop."
After KTVA requested information, the DOL sent out a press release to news organizations regarding Mosley's indictment and subsequent bail hearing.
The release included a statement from Deputy Attorney General John Skidmore, explaining that what might appear to be delays to the general public are instead efforts to gather sufficient evidence.
"Before charging a case, the prosecution must have sufficient evidence and be confident the case can be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt," Skidmore explained. "Any lower standard could jeopardize the case and the ability to achieve justice for the victims. Although it is not common, there are instances when new evidence comes to light which enables us to move forward on an earlier case where there may not initially have been enough evidence to prosecute."
However, the state's bail memo reads:
"The state's case is strong with three victims' statements, several eyewitnesses' statements, 911 calls, the double-blind lineup identification, the Defendant's statements to police, and DNA evidence linking the Defendant to these crimes."
Linked by DNA
The Department of Public Safety agreed to an interview regarding Alaska's DNA database, known as CODIS.
Michelle Collins, the administrator of CODIS, said all forensic DNA analyzed in Alaska comes through the doors of the crime lab.
"The purpose of CODIS is to generate investigative leads in cases where law enforcement may not have a suspect that they're looking at," she explained.
The database is comprised of DNA profiles from some of Alaska's convicted offenders and people arrested, as well as forensic samples generated from evidence collected at crime scenes and from victims of crime.
State law calls for DNA samples to be collected from those convicted of and arrested for "people crimes." That includes murder, sexual assault, assault, stalking, robbery and extortion, among other charges.
Collins says offender and arrestee samples typically get entered into the database within 30 to 45 days. By law, reasonable attempts must be made to enter the samples into the database within 90 days.
The process of entering victim DNA samples takes longer. For instance, the current wait time for a rape kit from collection to entry into CODIS is around 11 months to a year.
"The software is set up to look for what we call moderate stringency matches, which means really close matches," Collins said.
Once a match is identified, the lab uses a rigorous confirmation process.
"If all the confirmation steps are perfectly affirmed or verified, we then institute a 'hit letter' or notification that is send out to the law enforcement agency who submitted the case advising the of the hit or the match in the database," she explained.
Collins said further testing is done if the case goes to trial.
"If the case is going to go to trial, one of the things that’s included in our notification is that the agency should collect an evidentiary sample from that individual and submit that to us at the laboratory, and when we get that sample, we will run a DNA analysis on that and that analysis is what results in us issuing a scientific laboratory report where we’re going to say that the profile from that person’s sample matches the profile from that evidence, and we’re going to issue match statistics which are required for DNA reports to be admissible in court," she explained.
When asked if an evidentiary sample analysis is required to take a case to a grand jury, Collins said no.
"A DNA report isn’t even required for grand jury," said Collins. "They will just present the evidence they do have and the grand jury makes the determination of whether that evidence is sufficient, so often cases don’t have completed DNA analysis when they go to grand jury."
The difference between the analysis on an evidentiary sample and the analysis performed before law enforcement receives a hit letter, Collins explained, is that the evidentiary sample will have a chain of custody attached to it.
A chain of custody ultimately helped the state prove the integrity of the process when a case is presented to a jury, an event that often comes months, if not years, after a defendant has been charged, indicted and potentially kept in custody.
Collins said in her 16 years working at the State Crime Lab, the analysis performed on an evidentiary sample for the purposes of admission into court has never contradicted the analysis performed on matching DNA samples sent to law enforcement.
It is possible Alaska's rape kit backlog contributed to Mosley's freedom during the last decade. While he has spent some time in and out of jail, he wasn't charged with sexual assault until now.
His DNA was collected by the state for the first time on March 30, 2012, according to the DOC. That was years after the 2009 rape and months before the 2012 attack, but the match was not made until 2018.
"Ten years ago, as many states were starting to pass those arrestee laws, many of the labs nationwide actually did get pretty severely backlogged because they got a huge influx of samples that they hadn't yet ramped up capacity for," Collins explained.
At that time, the processing time for rape kits could have easily been two to three years, she said.
Today, Collins describes the lab as being on a constant path of improvement.
"Our goal would be that kits coming in are in an analysts hands in under 30 days for processing," she said.
Without a Warning
When APD detectives knew Mosley was linked to three random sexual assaults and felt confident enough in the case to forward charges to the DOL but Mosley remained free, there is no known record of the department making any effort to alert or warn the public about the man they believed was a serial predator.
"...he has freely roamed the streets for years."
None of the rapes are noted on the community crime map, which has been described as a reliable tool for understanding crime in Anchorage.
APD spokesperson MJ Thim wrote in an email, "Victim privacy laws prevents us from publishing sexual assault investigations on this platform."
Incidents that are posted on the community crime map do not include names of the parties involved or a specific address, but rather a location accuracy of one and a half to two miles from where the alleged crime occurred. The date, time and type of crime are provided — all are considered public information, including in cases of sexual assault.
The Nixle alert regarding Mosley that called for other potential victims to come forward was only released once Mosley was indicted and in custody.
When asked multiple times why the department chose not to warn the community about Mosley, Thim did not provide an answer, referring KTVA to the DOL instead — an agency that does not oversee APD's communications with the public.
A Cruel Reality
Prosecutors believe Mosley continues to present a real and substantiated threat to the living victims in the case.
"They are the only thing that stands between him and his freedom. [...] There is significant incentive for him to attempt to force, threaten, or harm these victims in order to stop them from continuing to cooperate with the police in the prosecution. To the Defendant, if only he could get them to go away, the State may drop the charges," the bail memo reads.
"For each of these women, they relive the trauma of the rape..."
The document also describes some of the effects the rapes had on the alleged victims:
"The effect on the victims cannot be overstated. Some of these woman waited years to find out who their assailant was. [One woman] moved back to her hometown out of fear and shame. One of these women, after years of suffering from infertility despite her best efforts with her partner, became pregnant as a result of the rape. The cruel irony of carrying the child of her rapist after years of trying to have a child with her partner had a significant impact on her. For each of these women, they re-live the trauma of the rape and recently endured having to tell a grand jury what happened to them.
The Defendant approached [one woman] and asked her to tell the police that she did not want to press charges. She felt intimated by his demand since she had obviously already talked to the police. [The woman] had to stand there and listen to her rapist implicitly threaten her by asking her to lie to the police."
The women are "terrified" of Mosley, according to the bail memo, "because he has freely roamed the streets for years."
For now, Mosley remains in jail. He is being held on a $100,000 cash bail and the requirement of a court-approved third-party custodian.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, resources are available on the Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) website or by calling the statewide crisis hotline at (800) 478-8999.
Additionally, Anchorage police ask that anyone who believes they might have been a victim or has information related to these cases call Sgt. Dawn Neer at 907-786-2471.
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