Prosecutors drop sex abuse charges against former officer, file new charge of interfering with a witness

A former Juneau police officer initially accused of sexual abuse of a minor could still face as much as two years in prison.

Prosecutors dropped the three felony abuse charges on Friday, just before Brian Ervin’s jury trial was to start on Monday, August 8th. But the 38-year old former downtown officer pled “no contest” to a new charge of interfering with a witness.

Ervin did not say anything aside from answering routine questions from Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens, who participated telephonically from Ketchikan. Ervin’s attorney Louis Menendez made a short statement on his behalf.

“It ends the state’s relationship with the Mr. Ervin as to any charge or uncharged crimes of sexual misconduct or any other crime involving D.E.,” said Menendez. “He stands by the statement that he specifically and emphatically denies the allegations of D.E.”

Ervin’s prison term for felony interference with a witness may be well above the presumptive minimum sentence of a year because the crime occurred while he was out on release.

The accuser was present in the courtroom, but she declined to make any comment during the short change of plea hearing.

Menendez declined to comment further after the hearing on Friday.

District Attorney Dave Brower also declined to comment or explain what happened with the state’s case until after Ervin is sentenced in November.

Ervin started as a police officer in April 14, 2008, according to City and Borough of Juneau records. Even before the charges were lodged against him last September, Ervin had been reassigned away from the Juneau Police Department to other CBJ positions unrelated to policing. Human Resources Director Mila Cosgrove says it mostly was clerical and other tasks related to human resources or other administration projects. Ervin left CBJ employment on May 22, 2011, but Cosgrove declined to say whether he resigned or was terminated.

The jury trial scheduled to start August 8th was expected to be one of the very last cases handled by Menendez as a private defense attorney. He had delayed his installation as Superior Court judge until the Ervin case was resolved. One of Menendez’s colleagues will represent Ervin during the sentencing phase.

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