Anchorage grand jury indicts Ed Sniffen, former acting attorney general, on child sex abuse charges from 1991

A white man speaks at a podium
File photo of then-Assistant Attorney General Ed Sniffen addressing the Juneau Chamber of Commerce. (Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Alaska’s former acting attorney general, Ed Sniffen, has been indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a minor that allegedly occurred in 1991, according to a press release from the Department of Law on Wednesday.

The allegations first came to light in 2021 through reporting by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica. The news organizations’ stories included interviews with a woman who said Sniffen had sex with her when she was 17 and on a mock trial team trip to New Orleans that Sniffen helped chaperone.

In most cases, the age of consent in Alaska is 16. But in cases that involve an alleged perpetrator in a “position of authority,” like a teacher, the age of consent is 18.

Sniffen, now 58, became the state’s acting attorney general in 2020 following a sexual harrassment scandal involving his predecessor, Kevin Clarkson, who resigned as a result of a different ADN and ProPublica investigation.

According to the ADN, Sniffen resigned in 2021 just days after Gov. Mike Dunleavy had appointed him to officially be the attorney general, pending the Legislature’s approval.

The Department of Law appointed a special prosecutor to look into Sniffen’s case. Sniffen was originally charged in May. Like other felony accusations, the case went before an Anchorage grand jury, resulting in the indictment announced Wednesday.

Sniffen is set to appear in court to answer to the indictment on Monday.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org.