Ex-Alaska attorney general pleads not guilty to sexual abuse

A white man speaks at a podium
Assistant Attorney General Ed Sniffen addresses the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on July 11. (Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

A former Alaska attorney general pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he sexually abused a minor three decades ago when he was the alleged victim’s high school coach.

Clyde “Ed” Sniffen, 58, entered his plea through his attorney, Jeffrey Robinson. Both appeared telephonically. Judge William Morse said a trial scheduling conference was set for Nov. 30.

The allegations date back to when Sniffen was 27 and was a lawyer in private practice but served as the coach of the then 17-year-old girl’s mock trial competition team at an Anchorage high school.

Sniffen was appointed Alaska’s top law enforcement officer by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Jan. 18, 2021, after his predecessor, Kevin Clarkson, resigned following allegations he sent unwanted text messages to a female state employee. But Sniffen himself resigned just 11 days after his appointment, citing personal reasons.

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica reported Sniffen’s resignation was announced as they were reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct with the Anchorage high school student three decades earlier.

The sexual relationship began during a trip to New Orleans for a national competition when the girl was 17, and it continued for about two years back in Anchorage, she told the publications.

The Anchorage Police Department investigated after the relationship became public in 2021. Special prosecutor Gregg Olson reviewed the investigation independent of the attorney general’s office.

A grand jury indicted Sniffen last week on three felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

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