Charges filed against former attorney general nominee

Sniffen was nominated by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to serve as Alaska attorney general on Jan. 18, 2021, and removed himself from consideration just 11 days later.
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 5:09 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Former nominee for Alaska Attorney General Ed Sniffen has been charged with three counts of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Department of Law.

In an email, Assistant Attorney General Daniel Cacciatore confirmed that the charges had been filed against Sniffen. Sniffen was nominated by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to serve as Alaska attorney general on Jan. 18, 2021, and removed himself from consideration just 11 days later. At the time, Dunleavy’s spokesperson Jeff Turner said that Sniffen was resigning for “personal reasons.”

“This morning we learned that the Special Prosecutor Gregg Olson filed three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree against Ed Sniffen. Now that the charges have been filed, the special prosecutor will continue to make decisions independent from the Department of Law to bring this case to resolution,” Cacciatore wrote.

Sniffen was nominated for the position after previous Attorney General Kevin Clarkson resigned in Aug. 2020. Clarkson resigned after inappropriate text messages with a junior state employee came to light.

Sniffen is accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with an underage girl three decades ago.

“The allegation that Mr. Sniffen took advantage of his authority to engage in sexual acts with the victim is disturbing and disappointing,” Cacciatore wrote. “As attorneys who work on behalf of the State to hold people accountable, we expect to be held to that same level of accountability. This further compels us to be advocates for victims, and more importantly, clearly emphasizes our role is to ensure justice for every Alaskan.”

Just one day after Sniffen removed himself from consideration, Dunleavy called for an investigation into the matter — and one day after that, Dunleavy appointed veteran prosecutor Rachel Gernat to lead the investigation. Special Prosecutor Gregg Olson told Alaska’s News Source in an interview that he has taken over the investigation into Sniffen from Gernat.

The allegations against both Clarkson and Sniffen were first reported by Kyle Hopkins — writing with the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica.

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