Soldotna man accused of sexual abuse given custodian

A Soldotna man accused of sexually abusing a minor has been approved for a third-party custodian so that he can be released from jail.

Michael Dean Hancock, 57, was indicted on Feb. 3 with one charge of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a charge of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and three charges of unlawful exploitation of a minor for incidents that allegedly took place in 2006 and 2007, according to the indictment.

The former karate teacher was already in custody in Anchorage at that point following an Anchorage grand jury indictment in January of 13 charges relating to the possession and distribution of child pornography. In the local case, Hancock now faces only the first two charges of first-degree and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, according to online court records.

At a Wednesday bail review hearing at the Kenai Courthouse, Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran approved Hancock’s brother, who has traveled from the Lower 48, as a third-party custodian. She approved a proposal from Hancock’s defense attorney, Bill Taylor, that he also post a $10,000 cash performance bond and wear an ankle monitor while out of jail.

The Public Defender Agency requested a change of plea hearing for Hancock on July 28, according to online court records. That hearing is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. Hancock’s release to a third-party custodian is temporary in order for him to get his finances in order before he changes his plea and returns to jail, Taylor said.

Moran stressed that her approval of the bail change only covers the Kenai case, and that a separate hearing or order will be required in the Anchorage case before Hancock can be released. Hancock has a pretrial conference scheduled in the Anchorage case for next week. Adam Alexander, the prosecutor in both matters from the Office of Special Prosecutions in Anchorage, said the state and defense in that case are working toward an agreement similar to the bail proposal for the Kenai case.

Alexander, who appeared at Wednesday’s hearing telephonically, said that while he is sympathetic to Hancock’s need to get his affairs in order, the alleged victim in the case expressed discomfort with the idea of Hancock being released the last time Alexander spoke with her last month.

Part of the bail proposal includes that the company providing the ankle monitor will be able to set up geographical zones Hancock will not be allowed to enter so as to keep him and the alleged victim, who Taylor said has since moved back to the area after living out of state, from running into each other.

Hancock’s brother will serve as his custodian until the change of plea and is set to return to the Lower 48 in September, he said while he was being qualified as a custodian.

“We have to honor that there are victims in this case,” Moran said, stressing to Hancock’s brother the importance of his role as a custodian.

A special condition of Hancock’s release is that officers will be allowed to perform compliance checks at the Soldotna home where he and his brother will stay.

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

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