State Trooper convicted of attempted sexual abuse of a minor

Vance Peronto, formerly an Alaska State Trooper based in Soldotna, was convicted Friday of one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.

According to a press release from the Department of Law, Peronto was arrested and charged with attempted sexual abuse of a minor in April 2018. Early that month, Peronto pulled over a 16-year-old girl for driving without her headlights on. He did not issue a citation, and later contacted the girl via social media.

Peronto was arrested by Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department after he tried to set up a rendezvous with the girl in an Anchorage hotel room. The release says that evidence presented in a two week trial established that Peronto took a “substantial step” towards engaging sexually with the minor while occupying a position of authority.

The jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on the count of attempted sexual abuse, but was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on two counts of possession of child pornography, the release says. The trial was presided over by Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson.

A sentencing date has not been set. Peronto will face between 2 and 12 years in custody, according to the release.

“The Alaska State Troopers cannot allow anyone, especially a law enforcement officer, to abuse their power and violate the trust of the community as Vance Peronto did. The prosecution of this former State Trooper sends a clear message that no one is above the law, and we will not tolerate any criminal activity within our ranks,” Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell says in the release.

Another Soldotna-based Alaska State Trooper, Benjamin Strachan, was charged with seven counts of sexual abuse of a minor in October 2021, according to previous Clarion reporting. That case is ongoing.

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