Fairbanks man claims innocence while pleading guilty to attempted sexual assault

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A Fairbanks man charged with first degree sexual assault and kidnapping pleaded guilty to a reduced count of attempted sexual assault in court Thursday.

Winfred Hipp, 50, was arrested in January of 2017 for an incident in May of 2016.

He is accused of holding a woman against her will, and then sexually assaulting her, a charge which he denies.
The hearing had been delayed multiple times while the court tried to contact the victim of the alleged crime.

Eventually they gave up and continued without her input.
According to the prosecution, the reason for the dramatic reduction is that the defense would have argued in trial that it was prostitution, not sexual assault.

Around 10 people were in the court for the hearing to show support for Hipp. Hipp told the court his reasons for him pleading guilty.

“Like I said they drugged me, they raped me and they robbed me, and I am in front of you today for something I didn't do, but I have to go along with the system because if I don't I am facing 99 years and I don't have that long, so yeah, I am guilty okay," Hipp said.

Hipp was sentenced to 10 years in jail with 5 suspended. He will be eligible for early release in one year.