Former Juvenile Justice administrator charged with possessing child pornography

In this 2016 interview, Channel 2 interviewed Dennis Weston with the Division of Juvenile...
In this 2016 interview, Channel 2 interviewed Dennis Weston with the Division of Juvenile Justice. (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 17, 2018 at 5:12 PM AKDT
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A former Division of Juvenile Justice administrator, who was previously in charge of two youth facilities in Alaska, has been charged with possession of child pornography.

An indictment announced Wednesday by federal prosecutors against 54-year-old Dennis Weston, of Anchorage, includes one charge of sexual exploitation of a child – possession of child pornography.

Federal court documents weren’t yet available Wednesday afternoon, but the press release says that in June 2018, Weston knowingly possessed visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, which was located on a computer or other digital device.

Weston began his employment with the Division in 1992. He resigned on July 24, 2018 after being on administrative leave for nearly a month, Tracy Dompeling, the director of the Division of Juvenile Justice said Wednesday afternoon. His administrative leave began immediately after the division became aware of the allegation against him, Dompeling said.

Weston began as a youth counselor, which Dompeling says was the job title at the time for what is now a juvenile justice officer. Weston worked his way up, becoming a unit supervisor, and then Superintendent at Johnson Youth Center in Juneau, and then at Mclaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage. In November of 2015 he became the division operations manager.

Part of his job as Operations Manager was to investigate allegations of misconduct against Juvenile Justice employees, including a case that came to light in late 2015 of a McLaughlin officer charged with sexually abusing a resident. Dompeling said while Weston would have been at the head of an investigation, division HR officials would also be involved.

Dompeling says she encourages any victim of abuse to report it to law enforcement. She says the division thoroughly investigates any allegations of illegal activity by department employees in cooperation with law enforcement.

Federal prosecutors ask anyone with any information or concern about Weston to contact the FBI at (907) 276-4441.

If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.