An Alaska State Trooper based in Soldotna is jailed on charges he sexually abused two girls, and authorities are asking the public for information about other possible victims.
Thirty-nine-year-old Benjamin Strachan was arrested Wednesday on one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and six counts in the second-degree. Strachan moved to Soldotna to be an Alaska State Trooper in June 2020.
Assistant Attorney General Jenna Gruenstein with the state’s Office of Special Prosecutions said at Strachan’s initial court appearance Thursday that the abuse of one of the victims was contained to one night. The other spanned over a year.
“The counts that are before the court currently are representative," Gruenstein said. "They're not encompassing all of the alleged activity because frankly there were just too many instances to charge each count and each activity separately.”
According to charging documents, one of the alleged victims, a 14-year-old, told her parents that Strachan had sexually abused her in February. The charges say she told her parents about the incident months after it happened after attending a class about not being ashamed to talk about experiences with abuse.
The alleged victim’s parents reported the incident to Kenai police Saturday night and the case was referred to the Alaska State Troopers the next morning. Because Strachan was assigned to the Soldotna post, the charges say troopers referred the case to the Wasilla Child Abuse Investigation Unit.
The alleged victim also told investigators she had seen Strachan inappropriately touch another girl. The charges say further investigation revealed a longer-term pattern of sexual abuse.
Public Safety Commissioner Jim Cockrell, himself a Soldotna resident, said at a press conference Wednesday he was sickened by the allegations.
“I’d like to acknowledge the victim for having the bravery to come forward and bring these allegations to light," Cockrell said. "Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Strachan or has information that would be helpful to the investigation is encouraged to contact the Alaska State Troopers in Soldotna.”
The judge at Strachan’s court appearance Thursday deemed him a flight risk, as he has few ties to the community, and set bail at $200,000 cash.
According to the Department of Public Safety, Strachan is on administrative leave without pay. He remained in custody Thursday at Wildwood Correctional Center.
The Alaska State Troopers say they’re investigating whether there are other victims and are asking those with more information to call the Soldotna office at 907-262-4453.