Bethel OCS worker charged with sexual assault of an adult

A blue building with a ramp leading to the front entrance
Nora Guinn Justice Center in Bethel, Alaska. (Dean Swope/KYUK)

This story was updated on 11:32 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2021 with additional information.

A state employee for the Office of Children’s Services in Bethel has been charged with sexual assault. Several local non-profit organizations that he is a board member of are evaluating whether to remove him.

On Dec. 16, the state of Alaska charged 51-year-old Bethel resident Jon Cochrane with sexual assault in the first degree, attempted sexual assault in the first degree, three counts of sexual assault in the second degree, and assault in the fourth degree.

If convicted, Cochrane faces up to 99 years in prison. His bail has been set at $50,000.

Charging documents state that a woman told a police officer that Cochrane assaulted her and tried to have sex with her without her consent. She said that she was able to fight him off, but sustained bruises from his blows.

A woman filed a restraining order against Cochrane a few days later. She wrote that he had assaulted her on multiple occasions over a period of months. KYUK reached out to the woman, who stated that she did not want to be named in this story. Cochrane’s attorney did not reply to a request for comment before this story was published.

Since February 2021, Cochrane has worked as a protective services specialist for the state’s Office of Children’s Services. State spokesperson Clinton Bennett said that Cochrane has been on administrative leave without pay since Dec. 15.

Before working for OCS, Cochrane worked as a branch manager for Wells Fargo Bank in Bethel for over 12 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Cochrane sits on the board of directors for the Bethel Family Clinic, and presides over the Bethel Winter House’s board. Executive directors for both non-profit organizations said that they were aware of the charges against Cochrane. Bethel Winter House is scheduling an emergency board meeting this week to consider whether to remove Cochrane from his position.

Cochrane held a license as an emergency foster parent in Bethel. However, a state spokesperson stated that he has not cared for any foster children since 2019 and has not held a license to do so since it expired in 2020. The state spokesperson said that there were no enforcement actions or investigations against Cochrane while he held the license.

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