Man charged in 1994 sexual abuse cold case

Man charged in cold case from 1994
Man charged in cold case from 1994(Pixabay)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 2:39 PM AKST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 2:40 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A man was arrested in the Lower 48 and charged for the alleged sexual abuse of a 5-year-old child in an Anchorage park in 1994.

According to a release from the Department of Law, 52-year-old Lawrence Lekanoff was indicted by an Anchorage grand jury on Feb. 23 and arrested on Feb. 27. The release states that Lekanoff faces extradition to Alaska, and that Anchorage police investigated the 1994 incident but could not identify a suspect and the case went cold.

“The sexual assault kit collected in the case was tested in 2020 as part of the Capital Project, a State initiative to analyze untested sexual assault kits collected by 47 police departments statewide,” the release said. “When the sexual assault kit collected in this case was tested, DNA evidence linked to a potential suspect was identified. The Anchorage Police Department reopened the investigation, and the Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions presented the case to the grand jury.”

A backlog of thousands of unprocessed sexual assault kits was discovered in 2016, and eventually cleared in 2021. The 2,493 untested sexual assault kits had been compiling since the mid-1990s.

At least two arrests had been made as a result of testing the sexual assault kit backlog prior to Lekanoff. Carmen Perzechino Jr., was convicted on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of kidnapping from 2001 after a jury found him guilty in November of 2020. Additionally, 52-year-old Michael J. Williams was charged with first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor in July of 2021 from an incident dating back to Jan. 24, 1993. Williams is set to face trial in that case in April.

The release says that Lekanoff could face 30 years in prison if convicted. According to online court records, Lekanoff pleaded no contest to felony charges of first-degree sexual abuse of minor stemming from an Aug. 1, 1995 incident, and made bail in July of 2005.