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Levelock man serves 9 months for sexual abuse of teenage relative

Eric Tallekpallek, 22, accepted responsibility for the July 2016 crime and released soon after March 1 sentencing. Judge orders 5 years of probation with 39 months of suspended jail time.

KDLG: Judge Gregory Miller sentenced Eric Tallekpalek, 22, of Levelock, to 48 months in jail with 39 suspended, plus five years of probation, for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in the village last summer. Tallekpalek will also be required to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.

The sentence was handed down at a March 1 hearing, with the intent that Tallekpalek would be released from custody soon after. He has been in jail since his arrest late last August, accounting for the nine month sentence. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of third degree sexual abuse of a minor in December.

"I'd just like to say that I'm here to take full accountability," Tallekpalek said during sentencing. He was drunk at the time of the crime, and his past criminal behavior was largely attributed to alcoholism. "I've been in alcohol treatment numerous times, I've completed it, and not completed it once before, and I believe I can complete it again and better myself for the community and for my family."

James Klugman prosecuted the case, and said Tallekpalek's chance to rehabilitate himself was good, but it would take his devoted effort to steer clear of alcohol. Judge Miller, in handing down a five year period of probation agreed. 

"The ball is going to be completely in your court," Miller said. "You've got an awful alcohol history. You're just 22. All of this has landed you in numerous problems. You can count on it happening more and more and the price of poker going up if you don't get a handle on it."

Miller encouraged him to get into alcohol treatment programs.

"If you don't use them, then, you'll be back. ... And the question is, are you going to get a handle on this now at age 22, or are you going to wait till 42, or 52, or 72 ... might not make it to 72 at that rate."

While the charge had been pleaded down to the class C felony, the parties agreed to a "most serious aggravator" that allowed for the longer sentence.

The victim chose not to participate in the hearing. The same victim was allegedly abused by another man earlier in 2016, also in Levelock, a case which has not yet been resolved.

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281.