Local News

Robidou trial delayed pending high court appeal

The trial of a former Sitka junior high administrator has been postponed — indefinitely.

Former Blatchley Middle School principal Joe Robidou was scheduled to go on trial this week for six counts of sexual assault, but that now appears unlikely to happen any time soon.

Last month, Robidou’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the indictments. Superior Court Judge David George agreed to dismiss one of the six counts, but let the other five stand.

Robidou’s defense has appealed that decision to the state Court of Appeals.
Assistant district attorney Jean Seaton says it is “allowed, but somewhat unusual” for a defendant to appeal a judge’s ruling — before a case has gone to trial.

Robidou is accused of six felony counts of sexual assault and an additional five misdemeanors. The charges relate to incidents that allegedly happened from May of 2012 to January 2013. All of them involve other adults — teachers who worked for Robidou when he was principal of Blatchley Middle School.

Seaton has no idea how long it will take the appellate court to return a decision. She says the justices look only at court procedure, rather than the details of the case. They will likely review the proceedings of the Sitka Grand Jury which brought the original indictments.

Seaton adds that the Alaska Legislature has taken a stand on indefinite appeals. She says that recent legislation requires the criminal justice system to account for the effects long appeals have on victims.

Most recently, Robidou was the business manager for the Sitka School District, a job he’d taken the week before the charges came to the attention of school officials and police in January 2013. He tendered his resignation sometime after that, and it became official on March 1, 2013, the same day he was indicted by a Sitka grand jury.

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