A 21-year-old village police officer faces felony charges after Alaska State Troopers say he solicited sex from a 12-year-old girl.

Thursday night Troopers arrested Leon Outwater, a village police officer in the small northwest community of Kobuk, after the mother of the girl told troopers she was “concerned for her daughter’s safety.”

Village Public Safety Officers working in the Northwest Arctic Borough and stationed in nearby Shungnak worked with troopers in the investigation. Troopers charge that Outwater, while on duty and using a phone owned by the Village of Kobuk, sent “at least” 20 text messages over the course of 24 hours soliciting sex from the victim.

“There was no contact, just soliciting through text message,” Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen said.

He faces two felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor, both modified to reflect solicitation.

“The reason why it was bumped up to felony sex assault is because he was in a position of authority,” Ipsen said, “and the solicitations took place while he was on duty as a village police officer, and also utilizing his work cell phone.”
Outwater faces a third charge, felony tampering with evidence, after troopers say he deleted the text messages from the phone after he was “relieved of his duties.”

Ipsen explained that, as a VPO, Outwater was employed by the City of Kobuk. A VPO is different than a VPSO, which is a position trained through and maintained by the Alaska State Troopers.

A woman answering the phone for the city on Friday refused to give her name and said only that “we [the city of Kobuk] are the employers of the VPO, and we have no comment at this time.”

Ipsen said the investigation into whether Outwater solicited others in a similar manner is ongoing. She said looking through the cell phone is part of the investigation.

Outwater was arraigned Friday at the Kotzebue courthouse. He remains in custody at the Kotzebue Regional Jail.