Man charged with sexual abuse of minor released on bail

A Kenai man charged with sexual abuse of a minor has been released on bail until his next hearing at the Kenai Courthouse.

Riley Edwards, 20, was arrested by Alaska State Troopers in Soldotna on Nov. 13 after a nearly year-long investigation. He has been charged with five counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of unlawful exploitation of a minor and two counts of possessing child pornography.

Courtview records show Edwards’ $3,500 total bail was posted on Nov. 18. He is due back in court on Dec. 4 for a preliminary hearing.

The case came to the attention of the troopers when the Office of Child Services faxed the troopers’ Crown Point office a report of sexual abuse on Dec. 12, 2014, according to an affidavit signed by Trooper David Lorring.

Subsequent interviews with the minor, her mother and Edwards revealed the two began a relationship in November of last year, while she was 14 and he was 19. The girl turned 15 during the course of the relationship, and it ended after about a month and a half after the girl’s mother contacted Edwards, according to the report.

“I did not want to get on her bad side,” Edwards is reported as telling Lorring in the affidavit. Edwards reportedly told Lorring he had been aware of the girl’s age when the relationship started but that it hadn’t seemed like “that big of a deal” at the time.

The five charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor against Edwards coincide with the five accounts of the two having sex which the minor recounted to troopers, according to the affidavit. The charges of possessing child pornography and unlawful exploitation of a minor come from pictures of the girl Edwards was found to have on his phone when troopers seized it during an interview with him in February, according to the affidavit.

Together, the 10 charges are a mix of class B and class C felonies. Class B felonies carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, while being convicted of a class C felony could result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsula.com.

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