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Alaska sex offender wins lottery sponsored by abuse victims advocacy group

1-13-2009 Alaska:

Alec Ahsoak, 53, has mentioned giving some of the winnings to the charity

An advocacy group for sexual abuse victims that sponsored the biggest Alaska lottery of its kind will receive a fraction of the $350,000 (£240,300) claimed by the winner - an Anchorage, Alaska, man with multiple sex-abuse convictions.

The organisation, Standing Together Against Rape, is expected to receive between $2,000 and $20,000 once expenses are determined, an organiser of the lottery said yesterday.

Star, and its partner, Lucky Times Pull Tabs, hope Friday's drawing will be a springboard for future lotteries, which Lucky Times owner Abe Spicola said could one day raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the non-profit.

"We knew that this particular go-around, the margins were going to be a little slim," said Ginger George-Smith, events development coordinator for Star.

Still, Star could get an unexpected boost this time around from the winner himself, who has talked about donating $100,000 of his winnings to the charity, Spicola said.

The family of two of the man's victims say he shouldn't get any money at all.

Alec Ahsoak, 53, came forward to claim his winnings on Saturday. Promoters billed the half-million-dollar lottery as the biggest in state history, and Ahsoak gets $350,000 after taxes, Spicola said. After Ahsoak came forward, KTUU-Channel 2 reported that he pleaded guilty in 1993 and in 2000 to three counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

When contacted by the Anchorage Daily News at the Salvation Army-run hotel that Ahsoak lists as his residence, he said his lawyer advised him not to talk to the news media. The lawyer, Lance Wells, said he was meeting with Ahsoak but declined to comment. No children live at the hotel, which is often used by people who are new to the community or coming out of treatment programmes, said Salvation Army spokeswoman Jenni Ragland.

One of Ahsoak's victims, who now is in her 20s, lives in Anchorage.

Seeing him win the money felt like a slap in the face, considering the lottery is meant to help Star, she said in a phone interview.

"I don't think he should get the money. I know that's not up to me to say ... it's just not right that he would get the money," she said.

"We're still dealing with it and he gets to walk away with half a million dollars," the woman said.

Ahsoak was a family friend who lived at the home in the early 1990s. The victims' mother said she kicked him out of the house and called police when she learned he was touching her daughters.
Now, she'd like to see the winnings to go his victims.

"I would like to see him pay to the kids ... make compensation to them, so that they can take care of their families," said the mother, who also lives in Alaska.

Ahsoak told KTUU on Saturday that he's worked hard to turn his life around and has been in treatment for the past year.

Star officials say Ahsoak's win underscores the scope of the sexual abuse problem in Alaska, where the rate of reported rapes is highest in the nation, according to 2007 FBI crime statistics.

"It certainly sheds a light on the problem here in Alaska and that we need to continue, and Star needs to continue on our mission," executive director Nancy Haag said on Sunday.

Peppered with questions about the lottery winner, Star also issued a written statement yesterday: "The story of Star is not about the winner of the lottery. The story of Star is about the victims of sexual assault we serve and sexual assaults we seek to prevent through our educational outreach."

As of Sunday, Star planned to proceed with another lottery in July, Haag said, though ultimately such decisions are up to the non-profit's board, which meets later this month. ..Source.. by McClatchy newspapers

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