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Hurley found not guilty of sexual assault

A 25-year-old Ekwok man, who was accused of sexual assault, was found not guilty. He remains in custody, however, for assaulting a police officer and corrections offer before his trial.

At the conclusion of his trial last week, the jury found Fred Tom Hurley III not guilty of second-degree sexual assault. He was accused of assaulting a woman in her Ekwok home last June.

Dillingham’s assistant district attorney Dan Doty prosecuted the case. After the trial, he said that the outcome was disappointing but that he respects the jury’s decision.

“It’s our task to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a pretty high burden to meet. Sometimes in these sexual assault cases, particularly where there’s only one witness who is also the victim, it’s very, very tough to meet that burden. I think that we did here, but the jury disagreed. We respect that. That’s their function, and so we’re glad that they were here and that they did their service this way,” said Doty.

Hurley was represented by Christopher Lesch, an attorney with the Public Defender’s Agency. Lesch based the defense on a lack of evidence in the case and on changes in the alleged victim’s testimony.

Although Hurley was cleared of the sexual assault charge, he remains in custody in Anchorage for assaulting a police officer and corrections officer in Dillingham before his trial last week. Hurley is alleged to have refused to leave his cell as ordered, taken off his shirt, and crouched to fight with the officers. It took two men to subdue him, and Hurley was treated for light wounds sustained during the altercation.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.