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October 30, 2014

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Alaska court says state wrongly fired trooper for sex with domestic-abuse victim

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that a state trooper who had consensual sex with a domestic violence victim hours after helping arrest her husband should not have been fired.

The 3-2 court opinion issued Friday upheld results of arbitration in 2010 between the troopers' union and the Department of Public Safety. The state subsequently appealed the decision to the high court, the Anchorage Daily News reported

The justices in the majority said if they had been the arbitration hearing officers in the case, they would have likely decided the state had just cause to fire the trooper. "Engaging in sexual conduct with a victim shortly after responding to her call for help, even if consensual, is inappropriate behavior for a state trooper," the justices wrote.

However, since there is no policy in place in Alaska to fire someone for off-duty sex with a crime victim, the justices said they deferred to the arbitrator’s decision.

In their dissent, Justices Craig Stowers and Peter Maassen said the trooper's conduct was clearly "serious and reprehensible" and gave the state enough reason to fire him.

The trooper, who wasn't named to protect the identity of the domestic violence victim, later lost his police certification in another manner and is no longer with the agency.

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