A 22-year-old village public safety officer in the Southwest Alaska community of Eek has been charged with sexual assault and human trafficking.
Village Public Safety Officer James Heakin was called to investigate a domestic violence assault in Eek in June, according to investigators. A few days later, the 22-year-old officer returned to take more photos of the woman’s injuries for the police report.
According to a statement from Alaska State Troopers, Heakin took the woman into her bathroom to take the photos. The statement says that during that time, Heakin sexually assaulted her. The woman told troopers that he told her not to say anything.
On July 30, an Eek village police officer alerted the Bethel-based troopers that the woman reported that Heakin sexually assaulted her. Troopers headed out to Eek to investigate, and arrested Heakin on Aug. 2.
Heakin faces three felony counts of sexual assault. The charging document says that he also faces one felony count of human trafficking for compelling the woman “to engage in sexual conduct by deception.” His first hearing was held Aug. 3 in Bethel.
The Association of Village Council Presidents, which oversees the VPSO program in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, hired Heakin in 2019, according to a post on Facebook. The tribal nonprofit declined to comment.