Commentary: Murkowski is right to press on Allen sex case

With the certification of her re-election in the courts' hands, Sen. Lisa Murkowski has returned to some unfinished business. She wants a better answer from the Department of Justice about why prosecutors in the department didn't pursue what both federal prosecutors and Anchorage police investigators said was a strong case against Bill Allen for sexual exploitation of teens.

Allen, the former chief executive of Veco and former powerful political player, is in prison for three years after his conviction on federal corruption charges. He pleaded guilty in an agreement with federal prosecutors that had him testifying at trials of two state legislators and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

However, the Justice Department refused to press its case under the federal Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of persons across state lines for sex, with tough penalties when that person is a minor.

Investigators alleged that Allen brought girls as young as 15. Federal law grants the protection of minor status to anyone under 18.

The silence of the Justice Department on the matter leads naturally to the suspicion that the sex-abuse case was dropped as part of a plea deal to gain Allen's cooperation in the corruption case.

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