Alaska Guard commander resigns over handling of sexual misconduct

Gov. Sean Parnell, July 26, 2009. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News/MCT)
Gov. Sean Parnell, July 26, 2009. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News/MCT) MCT

The head of the Alaska National Guard has resigned in the wake of an investigation that confirmed the command’s mishandling of reported rapes and other offenses.

The federal National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations found in a newly released report that the Alaska National Guard is “not properly administrating justice” and that victims did not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command to act.

The findings come after members of the Alaska National Guard, including two senior chaplains, told McClatchy Newspapers in October of last year that victims do not trust commanders to help them because of a history of mishandled complaints. They described a serious sexual assault and harassment problem and said the governor’s office had been informed of the problems as far back as 2010.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell earlier this year asked the federal National Guard Bureau to investigate.

Parnell gave a press conference in Alaska on Thursday night in which he apologized to those who had been victimized. The governor also said that he has asked for and received the resignation of the commander of the Alaska National Guard, Maj. Gen. Thomas Katkus.