ER woman arrested for sexual assault

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 11:51
Airman also alleges blackmail scheme

A 40-year-old Eagle River woman was arrested Aug. 15 after she took a visiting U.S. Air Force airman home and engaged in sexual acts with him while he was asleep, police said.

Police arrested Lagina Griffiths at her home off Wildwood Street and charged her with first- and second-degree sexual assault and coercion.

Griffiths met the married airman at Rumrunners Old Towne Bar & Grill in downtown Anchorage on Aug. 10, police said. He was visiting Alaska from a deployment outside the country.

The two drank together, then left together, Anchorage Det. Sgt. Ken McCoy said. Initially, the plan was to drive the man back to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, but Griffiths didn’t want to risk the security gate on base because she’d been drinking, McCoy said. So she suggested they go back to her place, and he could sleep there. The man agreed, McCoy said. Griffiths made a bed for him on the couch and he fell asleep.

“He wakes up at some point and she’s performing a sexual act on him,” McCoy said. “He basically tells her, ‘I’m not interested in that. I’m married. Please stop.’”

The second-degree sexual assault charge stemmed from the fact Griffiths started the encounter when the man was “unaware”, the detective said. The man went back to sleep, woke up, and Griffiths had initiated another encounter, leading to the first-degree count because he’d already told her to stop, McCoy said.

The man demanded Griffiths take him back to base and she did. On Aug. 12, however, he received a letter from Griffiths telling him she planned to tell his wife and the military about their encounter, and also impregnate herself with his semen, McCoy said. The two arranged a meeting. Griffiths told the airman she’d make good on her threats unless he continued a relationship with her, McCoy said.

On Aug. 14, the airman reported the threats to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which notified the APD Special Victims Unit. Lead investigator Brett Sarber obtained an arrest warrant after establishing probable cause through search warrants and interviews, police said. Police took Griffiths to Anchorage Jail on no bail. She was arraigned Aug. 16 and lodged at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. It is “very rare” that a woman is charged with sexual assault in Anchorage, McCoy said. There have been a few coercion cases involving women in the last few years.

Generally, men tend to report assaults less frequently than women because of the stigma involved, he continued.

“My belief is if she did not take this to the next level of the blackmail plot, he probably would not have reported it,” the detective said.

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