Native leader appears in court on theft charge

Robert Loescher is checked over by security as he arrives at the Dimond Court Building on Thursday for arraignment on a theft charge. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO News

Robert Loescher is checked over by security as he arrives at the Dimond Court Building on Thursday for arraignment on a theft charge. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO News

A former Sealaska corporation executive accused of taking money from a subsistence fund is scheduled to appear in court again in January.

A ‘not guilty’ plea was entered on behalf of Robert ‘Bob’ Loescher, 66, in Juneau District Court on Thursday.

Loescher, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, agreed to a temporary waiver of a preliminary hearing and temporary waiver of a speedy trial until his January 7th court date.

He’s been charged with theft in the second degree for allegedly taking $21,515 in funds that were managed by the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp. The funds were part of the Alaska Subsistence Defense Fund and Alaska Traditional Foods Security Council which were set up to protect Southeast Native subsistence rights. Loescher was head of the groups when the money allegedly was taken. Charging documents allege that Grand Camp officials had asked Loescher to repay the funds, but he eventually refused and then stopped communicating with them altogether.

Loescher was released on his own recognizance with no bail set.

Loescher worked for Native corporation Sealaska for over 22 years, rising to the position of chief executive officer before he left in 2001.

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