Local News

Robidou trial set for May, pending appeal

A new trial date has been set for Joe Robidou, the former principal of Blatchley Middle School in Sitka accused of sexually assaulting three teachers.

Sitka Superior Court judge David George on Thursday (2-13-14) set Robidou’s trial date for the week of May 12, 2014.

Robidou was scheduled to go on trial the second week of February, but the case was delayed when his attorney appealed a procedural motion to the State Court of Appeals.

Robidou had asked the Superior Court to dismiss the six indictments against him, but Judge George agreed to dismiss only one. Robidou’s lawyer, Julie Willoughby, asked the higher court to review that decision.

Despite the pending appeal, the parties are moving forward, and now are preparing for a trial in May.

In addition to appealing Judge George’s refusal to dismiss the original indictments, Robidou’s defense is introducing another tactic: On January 15, Willoughby filed a motion asking for permission to depose the three victims of Robidou’s alleged assaults. All three testified before a Sitka Grand Jury in January, 2013, but Willoughby argues that none disclosed to jurors the full extent of their prior “physical and sexual” relationship with Robidou.

Assistant district attorney Jean Seaton filed an opposition to Robidou’s request to depose the victims. She wrote, “victims of sexual assault are not required to provide interviews with the defense.” Seaton went on to cite Article 1, Section 24 of the Alaska Constitution, which provides that victims have the right “to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness during all phases of the criminal … justice process.”

Seaton argued that the victims were interviewed on multiple occasions — and all interviews were provided to the defense, along with their sworn testimony before the Grand Jury.

Joe Robidou now stands charged with five felony counts of sexual assault for alleged encounters with three of his female staff members in late 2012 and early 2013. He resigned from the Sitka School District on March 1, 2013, the same day he was indicted by the Grand Jury.

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