Lottery winner attacked; one man taken into custody

Ed: Usually, the envy one feels when someone other than you wins the lottery does not extend to actual physical assault. But as we know, when that "someone else" is a sex offender, some feel compelled to express both their hatred of sex offenders as well as their jealousy and fury, in a very different way. Never mind that the sex offender bought the lottery ticket and took his chances just like everyone else. Anything he might do, even though it be something that everyone else is free to do, can be used, in this case LITERALLY, as a club against him. Jews in Nazi Germany were attacked with impunity on the streets by resentful "Aryans" who had been thoroughly programmed to despise them and their alleged wealth and power. Prior to the mass deportations to the death camps, Jews were increasingly and systematically excluded from taking part in much of German society. They were barred from schools, parks, buses and trams, universities, government offices, swimming pools, and much more. Without exagerrating, one can say that the sex offender in America today is facing an identical oppression. ]

The winner of the state's first half-million dollar lottery was severely beaten on a downtown street Tuesday afternoon by a man wielding a tire iron or metal pipe, according to Anchorage police.

Police say Alec Ahsoak, 53, was attacked in the 400 block of D Street at about 3:30 p.m. when a man, accompanied by two women, approached him to ask if he was the man who won the $500,000 jackpot.

Whether the attack was motivated by Ahsoak's winning the lottery, which was held to benefit an advocacy group for sexual abuse victims, or the widely distributed reports that Ahsoak is a three-time convicted sex-offender was unclear.

"There was no apparent attempt at robbery," police Lt. Dave Parker said. "He was struck eight to 10 times, and then he threw his Pepsi at the assailant and he ran for Phyllis' Cafe and the assailant ran off."

By Tuesday evening, Ahsoak had been discharged from the hospital. In a show-up, Ahsoak identified the suspect as his attacker, but the man in custody had not yet been charged with a crime, Parker said. Police had also identified one of the two women and were treating her as a witness, Parker said.

Ahsoak told officers he had been stopped by a white man believed to be about 21 and wearing a blue and white checked shirt, blue jeans and a white baseball cap as he entered the 5th Avenue Mall. The stranger asked if he was the lottery winner, and Ahsoak said he was, then went into the mall.

When he walked out minutes later carrying a Pepsi, the man approached him, saying nothing more, and began hitting him on the head with the weapon, police said.

"Oh my God, I was so afraid something was going to happen to him," said Nancy Haag, executive director of Standing Together Against Rape, the nonprofit that benefitted from the lottery. "I'm just very sorry to hear that this has happened. ... Nobody deserves to be a victim of any kind of violence, and that's our stand."

Ahsoak was transported to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, which did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

"There were injuries to his head -- lacerations, that kind of stuff," Parker said. "Nobody knows how bad it is until doctors do their job, but he was talking and able to communicate with the officers."

There were "loads of witnesses" to the attack, but none of them were immediately able to identify the man, Parker said. It did not immediately appear that the attack had been caught on any surveillance cameras, he said.

The lottery, billed as the first of its kind, was conducted under Alaska law that allows games of chance that benefit a charity. The charity must get at least 10 percent of what's left after the prize is paid out, and organizers have estimated STAR stands to get between $2,000 and $20,000.

Ahsoak claimed $350,000 in prize money after taxes, and, the day he came forward, pledged to give $100,000 of it to STAR, the owner of Lucky Times, Abe Spicola, has said. Spicola did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Ahsoak came forward as the lottery winner Saturday, and reports that he is a convicted sex offender were soon publicized by KTUU Channel 2 News and picked up by other outlets, including the Daily News. By Monday, Ahsoak's victims were telling the media they thought Ahsoak should not benefit from the lottery, which was conducted by Lucky Times Pull Tabs to benefit the nonprofit Standing Together Against Rape.

Asked whether the media should have publicized that Asoak was a convicted sex offender, Haag said, "I think it put him, obviously, at greater risk because there are people who like to take justice into their own hands."

Ahsoak was convicted in 1993 of molesting two girls under the age of 13 and sentenced to four years in prison, according to court records.

Police arrested him again in March 2000 for molesting a different young girl he was baby-sitting. He was sentenced to six years in prison on a single count of sexual abuse of a minor in a plea deal that took another sex abuse charge and a charge of failing to register as a sex offender off the table.

Ashoak has finished his time in prison and is now on probation, but he is registered as a sex offender on a state-run public database. He told KTUU on Saturday that he's worked hard to turn his life around and has been in treatment for the past year.

A message left on the cell phone of Ahsoak's attorney was not returned Tuesday.

In reports that began surfacing Monday, some of Ahsoak's victims and their parents expressed an interest in suing him since he won the lottery, saying the money should go to his victims instead of benefitting a convicted sex offender.

One victim, who was molested in the early 1990s while Ahsoak, a family friend, was staying at her home, said Tuesday she thinks Ahsoak should not have gotten the money, especially since the money benefits STAR. But it was out of her hands and she doesn't think she'll sue, said the woman.

"I'm in shock that happened. That's terrible," she said upon hearing of the attack. "I don't wish that on anybody. The only thing I wished for him is that he would get better. ... I just think it's crazy the way that everything happened."

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