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Daniel Buckingham sentenced to 23 Years for sexual assault

After much negotiation with the state Court System, the Bethel City Council renewed the lease for the Nora Guinn Justice Complex for 10 years.
Christine Trudeau

Daniel Truth Buckingham was sentenced on Thursday, May 25 by Judge William Montgomery to 30 years in prison with seven suspended. That means that he has 23 years to serve for a 2019 sexual assault committed in Bethel. He was convicted by a jury of his peers in March 2022.

Bailey Woolfstead is with the Office of Special Prosecutions Rural Prosecution Unit.

“In sentencing Mr. Buckingham today, Judge Montgomery really focused on Mr. Buckingham's targeting of his 16 year-old victim and her vulnerability in the community stating, 'You gained her trust and that trust was violated,'" Woolfstead said.

Montgomery found that an aggravating factor applied to Buckingham’s case because he was on conditions of release for a felony or an assaultive misdemeanor when he committed the sexual assault.

Throughout sentencing, Buckingham and his family maintained his innocence and asked the court to find that his crime was a less serious offense. Buckingham spoke at length about his religious beliefs and the difficulty he has faced throughout the trial process and his imprisonment.

Woolfstead asked the court to impose a 25-year sentence, focusing on the victim’s age, vulnerability, the fact that the sexual assault produced a child, and Buckingham’s lack of prospects for rehabilitation.

Woolfstead encouraged anyone who is facing sexual assault or sexual abuse and who may or may not want to report it to reach out to the Alaska State Troopers or to organizations like Tundra Women's Coalition.

“If somebody is sexually assaulted and, let's say, isn't in a place where they're ready yet to report, they can go to the hospital and get a sexual assault kit done anonymously. So that if they do decide they want to report it in the future, that information is there and they also will get access to treatment for anything that's occurred. I don't think people often know that that exists. And I want to make sure that anybody who is in a situation that is unsafe or has been hurt knows that there are always resources out there,” said Woolfstead.

Buckingham was 30 years old at the time of his conviction.

Francisco Martínezcuello was the KYUK News Reporting Fellow from November 2022 through January 2024. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
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