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This is the first in a series of five stories that explores the community dynamics around sexual assault in Nome and efforts to heal long-standing unequal treatment. This story features sensitive subject matter. Listener discretion is advised. If you need to talk with someone while reading this, or need help, here are some resources.

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Hundreds of sexual assaults have been reported in Nome over the last 15 years, but few have brought arrests and even fewer convictions. There are a of factors that make it hard to investigate and prosecute sexual assault cases. They are also finishing an audit of sexual assault cases going back to Thirty of them resulted in arrests. The majority of those sexual assault cases involved Alaska Native women. No, I do not feel like I can partake in all of the things that our community has to offer, safely.

Trigg is a sexual assault survivor herself. She says her attacker was not prosecuted and still lives in Nome. Koweluk argues historical trauma creates a different reality for Alaska Natives in Nome.

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Historical trauma is defined by Dr. It le people to be less likely to report crimes. At the end ofover sexual assault cases had been reported. He says almost all of those cases involved Alaska Native perpetrators and Alaska Native survivors.

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Heintzelman said when an officer takes on a new case, a superior officer monitors progress and the superiors are in turn monitored by higher level officials like the deputy chief and chief. Officers and police leadership see frequent turnover in Nome, with many in recent years staying for 12 months or less. This enables officers to spend their off-time away from Nome.

Hardy claimed Harvey did not follow up on her case, nor did the Police Chief at the time, John Papasadora. Harvey, and Chief Papasadora alleging they mishandled her rape claim. That lawsuit is currently working its way to trial. Data shows numerous sexual assault cases were unresolved and piling up at the department over the last few years until That fall, then-Police Chief Bob Estes started an audit of cases dating back to Estes left the department a year later with the case-audit still in progress and to this day it is still not complete.

He has one of the highest caselo in the state.

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In the same report, a third of women in Alaska reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime. In alone2. When looking at the Nome Census area [Bering Strait region], the of women who reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime is similar, but the report emphasizes that the actual of incidents involving sexual violence is most likely higher than what was reported.

Some survivors in Nome specifically have told KNOM they chose not to report their own trauma for many reasons, including lack of support or little ability from law enforcement.

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Sexual assault cases are complex and difficult to prove under existing statutes. According to state statute AS The report says a total of 1, felony level sex offenses were reported to law enforcement in Alaska in That year there were arrests for a felony sex offense.

Of those arrests, resulted in a conviction, of which included one or more convictions for a felony sex offense. For Nome, arrest rates for sex offenses since follow statewide trends, but the conviction rates have been a lot lower.

Concurrently, the City Council commissioned an outside management and evidence audit of the Nome Police Department to be conducted by Greg Russell Consulting. As of the publishing of this story, that audit of NPD has yet to be released by the consulting firm. Regardless of the of that audit, advocate Darlene Trigg says that the lack of action on scores of cases with Alaska Native victims by NPD needs to Ladies seeking sex Center Alaska acknowledged so the community can move forward.

You know? Some level of acknowledgement that harm has been done is probably not something that an attorney would want the city to do. However, there are people who are owed that in this community who are, you know, lost in their own trauma response, because of the way that they were treated, and, their families and their livelihoods and their…ability to walk in our town, in a healthy, safe way is forever changed.

Steckman says he, Chief Heintzelman, and several of the newer Nome Police officers were not part of the past mistakes. Training includes topics like conducting forensic examinations, collecting better evidence and learning about culturally informed police response. You know, I can understand why. Sure, I could take that cop out, but I am here now, and I can do something. No policeman on this earth is going to be able to change that.

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So, we need to fix that. We need to fix our humanity. Tune into KNOM next week for Part 2 of this 5-Part series where sexual assault survivors in Nome and the surrounding region tell their own stories. Image at top: Long term residents of Nome interlocking hands. Photo from KNOM. Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to this to a friend Opens in new window Click to print Opens in new window.

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Ladies seeking sex Center Alaska

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Part 1 – Seeking Protection, Wanting Justice: Disparities in Sexual Assault Crimes in Nome