Former juvenile justice official pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

In this 2016 interview, Channel 2 interviewed Dennis Weston with the Division of Juvenile Justice.
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Almost a year after he was indicted for possession of child pornography, a former AK Division of Juvenile Justice administrator, who was previously in charge of two youth facilities in Alaska, entered a guilty plea Wednesday, federal court records indicate..

An indictment announced by federal prosecutors in October, 2018 against 54-year-old Dennis Weston of Anchorage, included one charge of sexual exploitation of a child – possession of child pornography.

The U.S Attorney's office said last year that in June 2018, Weston knowingly possessed visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, which was located on a computer or other digital device.

Weston began his employment with the Division of Juvenile Justice in 1992. He resigned on July 24, 2018 after being on administrative leave for nearly a month, Tracy Dompeling, the director of the Division of Juvenile Justice told KTUU after the indictment was announced. His administrative leave began immediately after the division became aware of the allegation against him, Dompeling said.

Weston began as a youth counselor, which Dompeling says was the job title at the time for what is now a juvenile justice officer. Weston worked his way up, becoming a unit supervisor, and then Superintendent at Johnson Youth Center in Juneau, and then at McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage. In November of 2015 he became the division operations manager.

Part of his job as Operations Manager was to investigate allegations of misconduct against Juvenile Justice employees, including a case that came to light in late 2015 of a McLaughlin officer charged with sexually abusing a resident. Dompeling said while Weston would have been at the head of an investigation, division HR officials would also be involved.

Court records indicate Weston's sentencing is scheduled for December 11, 2019.

When the indictment was announced, prosecutors said Weston could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Weston's defense attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

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