Sentencing for Soldotna man’s sex abuse case postponed

The sentencing for a Soldotna man who pleaded to guilty to sexual abuse of a minor has been pushed back due to a discrepancy over the sentencing ranges he could face.

Michael Dean Hancock, 58, was indicted on Feb. 3, 2016 on a count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, an unclassified felony, and a count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a class B felony, for incidents in 2006 that took place with a girl who was under 16 at the time, according to the indictment. He was also indicted at that time on three counts of unlawful exploitation of a minor, class B felonies, in relation to more than 80 files labeled with his victim’s name found on his computer, according to the indictment.

These charges were filed after Hancock had already been indicted in January 2016 in Anchorage on 13 counts relating to child pornography.

Hancock, a former karate teacher in the Soldotna area, pleaded guilty in September 2016 to one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree and one count of unlawful exploitation of a minor. The other charges from the indictment were to be dismissed, according to a plea agreement reached by Adam Alexander, the prosecutor for both cases from the Office of Special Prosecutions in Anchorage, and Hancock’s defense attorney for the Kenai case, Bill Taylor.

Hancock was scheduled to be sentenced in Kenai Superior Court last Thursday, but the hearing was continued to Monday. At the Monday hearing, Superior Court Judge Anna Moran said she had found inconsistencies after reviewing case law on sentencing, according to log notes from the hearing.

Originally, the agreement reached by Taylor and Alexander called for a presumptive sentencing range of two to four years in jail for each of the two counts Hancock pleaded guilty to. Taylor said at the time that this was because the abuse took place in 2006, and was therefore subject to the sentencing ranges that existed for those crimes at the time.

Moran presented at the Monday hearing that state statute was changed in regard to presumptive sentencing ranges in April 2006. The sex abuse crimes Hancock for which was indicted happened in August and September 2006, according to the indictment. The three charges of unlawful exploitation originally included in the indictment reference incidents in 2007, according to the indictment.

According to the amended state statute, Hancock would face a presumptive range of five to 15 years in jail for the crimes he pleaded guilty to, according to the log notes.

His sentencing has been continued and a status hearing has been scheduled for his case later this month, according to online court records. Hancock is scheduled to be sentenced in his Anchorage case in April, according to online records for that case.

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