Public Media for Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State issues arrest warrant 6 months after alleged university sex assault in Bethel

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus (KuC) in Bethel
Sage Smiley
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus (KuC) in Bethel

On Dec. 4, 2023, a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus (KuC) in Bethel called the police to report that a student had allegedly been sexually assaulted by an employee.

By the end of the day, police had arrested 32-year-old Kelvin Borinaga, and gathered the elements they believed were needed for the district attorney’s office to bring felony charges. But the charges weren’t immediately filed and Borinaga was released. Charges and an arrest warrant weren’t issued until more than six months later.

Borinaga, a Filipino citizen who worked as a receptionist at the university, stands accused of sexually assaulting a student after leading her into the campus laundry room.

He’s charged with two counts of felony sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor harassment. A warrant for his arrest was issued by Bethel Magistrate Judge Andrew Ramsey on June 7.

In the warrant request, the state said that Borinaga “is likely to leave Alaska and return to his home country soon.” Borinaga did not respond to a request for comment via Facebook.

According to a Bethel Police Department report, Borinaga was placed on leave by the university’s director shortly after the Dec. 4 incident.

Marmian Grimes, a spokesperson for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said that the university could not comment on the criminal case, or the university’s own internal investigation.

"I can't go into the facts of the incident, and honestly the court paperwork speaks for itself," Grimes said.

It is not entirely clear why evidence detailed in a police report from the day of the incident – including phone evidence obtained through a warrant and a statement from Borinaga himself admitting wrongdoing – did not lead to charges more quickly from the state.

In an email, Bethel District Attorney Mark Clark said that his office couldn’t comment on the Borinaga case specifically, but wrote, “when we have sufficient evidence to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt is when we file charges.”

When asked about the delay in filing charges, the Bethel Police Department only said that it had sent the case to the District Attorney’s office but did not specify a timeline, and referred KYUK to the district attorney’s office for more information.

Evan Erickson is a reporter at KYUK who has previously worked as a copy editor, audio engineer and freelance journalist.
Related Content