Authorities arrest Soldotna trooper for sexual abuse of a minor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Soldotna-based Alaska State Trooper has been arrested and faces charges of sexual abuse of a minor for incidents authorities say happened within the last year
The Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Department of Public Safety said 39-year-old Benjamin Strachan of Soldotna had been arrested earlier Wednesday on one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and six counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Strachan has been employed as a trooper in Soldotna since June 2020.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell discussed details of the case in a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the public safety department headquarters in Anchorage.
The Kenai Police Department notified troopers on Oct. 9 that there had been an allegation of sexual abuse made against Strachan, according to Cockrell and a press release from the department.
Investigators from Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and Soldotna started looking into the allegations.
“The investigation found probably cause that Strachan sexually abused multiple victims within the last year,” Cockrell said.
After being arrested Wednesday, Strachan was taken to the Wildwood Pretrial facility in Kenai and is expected to be arraigned in Kenai Superior Court at 10 a.m. Thursday. He’s been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case, Cockrell said.
Authorities are encouraging any other potential victims of Strachan to come forward, and ask anyone with information that might be helpful to the investigation to contact troopers in Soldotna at 907-262-4453.
Strachan has been assigned to Soldotna since he started working for the troopers in June 2020. Cockrell said that, to his knowledge, Strachan did not come into contact with his victims while on the job as a trooper.
Col. Bryan Barlow, director of the Alaska State Troopers, said that at this point authorities cannot disclose how many victims have been identified so far, nor how Strachan came into contact with them.
Barlow also said there wasn’t an indication of this kind of behavior or abuse when Strachan was in the process of becoming a trooper.
“Certainly to get hired as an Alaska State Trooper the background check or the hiring process is extensive,” he said.
Barlow said troopers would not have hired a person if there had been indications of this kind of behavior.
Officials said Strachan did not have other law enforcement experience prior to joining the troopers.
“I would like to acknowledge the victim for having the bravery to come forward and bring these allegations to light,” Cockrell said during the press conference.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.
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