A candidate for U.S. Senate, Daniel S. Sullivan, ran the legal office that let a criminal out of jail who sexually assaulted a toddler and murdered an elderly couple–just twelve hours after he was released from state prison for a previous rape felony.
Prosecutors say Jerry Andrew Active killed 73-year old Touch Chea and his wife, 71-year old Sorn Sreap, and sexually assaulted their 2-year old great grand-daughter and her 92-year old great, great grandmother in late May.
Active, 24, had previously sexually assaulted an eleven year old girl in Togiak in January of 2009, but was allowed to plead guilty to lesser crimes – and get out of prison sooner – after signing a plea agreement with the Alaska Attorney General’s Office, which was then-run by Daniel Sullivan. He is currently running for U.S. Senate.
A review of Active’s 2009 sexual assault case docket indicates that the Attorney General’s Office agreed to Active’s plea deal during Sullivan’s tenure. Sullivan was AG from June 2009 to December 2010.
“The plea agreement required Active to plead guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a minor, assault in the fourth degree, and criminal trespass in the first degree,” according to a report from Alaska’s Department of Law which was commissioned after international outcry about Active’s release and after Sullivan left office.
“In exchange for his guilty pleas, the state agreed that Active would receive a sentence of seven years with four years suspended for attempted sexual abuse of a minor, and 185 days each for the assault in the fourth degree and criminal trespass in the first degree charge,” the report continued. “These periods of incarceration were consecutive to each other so, in total, the plea agreement required Active to serve four years in jail for his crimes. As part of the plea agreement, the state agreed to dismiss the other charges pending against Active, including the offense of sexual abuse of a minor, and not to pursue any petitions to revoke his probation relating to the 2007 case.”
Active was first charged with a felony in 2007 when he was 18. He pled guilty in exchange for a suspended sentence, and got three years probation.
But after his next wave of crimes, which included attempted sexual assault of a minor, that felony didn’t show up in the database authorities use to check past criminal behavior. Sullivan’s Department of Law ran that database, and Sullivan’s name is on the amended indictment that state prosecutor Gustaf Olson signed and submitted on March 3, 2009 recharging Active with lesser crimes per the plea agreement.
The current Alaska Attorney General, Michael Geraghty, has publicly admitted that the Office of the Attorney General erred in offering Active this plea deal.
Geraghty told the Alaskan press that if the database had been up-to-date, Active could have gotten more jail time.
“In the end, the Department of Law, the Department of Corrections and the sentencing judge failed to identify Mr. Active’s prior felony conviction for purposes of calculating the applicable presumptive sentencing term,” Geraghty said.
The Anchorage Daily News criticized the attorney general’s handling of the case.
“Active’s sentence in a 2009 sexual assault case in Togiak should have resulted in a sentence of eight to 15 years, not the four years with four suspended that he received,” the editorial page wrote in June 2013. “That’s because Active had a previous felony conviction – a fact that apparently everyone involved missed, at least in part because it wasn’t in the state’s database.”
Such gaps are chilling because they open doors not just to garden variety offenders but to monsters.
Maybe even more infuriating to Alaskans is that Active didn’t even serve the soft-plea time he was given. He was released in October 2011, re-arrested and jailed again for probation violations and sentenced to served the rest of his 2009 time.
But he didn’t do that either. He was released in November 2012, and on the same day of his release was arrested and charged with running from a police officer, whom he dragged on the ground as she was trying to restrain him.
The sentence for assault, resisting arrest and providing false information? Ninety days with 80 suspended. The court did tack on 120 days for probation violation.
Apart from his previous miserable record, he dragged a police officer on the ground. When do the courts conclude that this is an individual with no respect for the law and a genuine danger to the people around him? You have a repeat offender and a sex offender to boot and the court is handing out wrist slaps.
Sullivan came into office promising that sex offenders in Alaska would be prosecuted to the fullest extent.
In December 2009, Sullivan promised offenders “will be aggressively prosecuted and shown no lenicency,” according to the Anchorage Daily News:
“Those who might otherwise be tempted to abuse Alaska’s women and children will come to realize that Alaska has turned into the last state in which you want to go on trial for domestic violence or sexual assault,” Sullivan said.
“The state will issue new guidelines for prosecutors to ensure no plea deals could allow convicts to avoid being on the sex offender registry, Sullivan said. The administration will also propose that the Legislature toughen penalties by giving out harsher sentences to people who commit sexual assaults on victims who are passed out, Sullivan said.”
Art Hackney, the political consultant tied to Sullivan and who has worked with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads producing advertising, did not know about the Active case when called for comment. When told about it, Hackney told this reporter to ask Sullivan for comment.
Repeated efforts to reach Sullivan, who served as Commissioner of the Alaskan Department of Natural Resources until his resignation, were unsuccessful.
Sullivan, who was formerly a spokesman for Bush in 2000, has worked with the Bush Administration on both the staffs of the National Economic Council and National Security Council until 2004 when he joined the Department of State as Assistant Secretary of State.
He announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on October 15, 2013.