Former Fairbanks football player not guilty of sexual assault; guilty of harassment

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska Andrew Gaines, a former football player for North Pole High School was acquitted on charges of sexual assault by a jury yesterday but found guilty of one count of harassment in the first degree.

Gaines, pictured here on July 18th, 2019, was found not guilty of sexual assault charges but found guilty of harassment charges stemming from a prom party in 2018. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

Gaines was accused by two girls of inappropriate conduct at a high school senior prom party in 2018.

Prosecutors charged him with three counts of sexual assault in the second degree and one count of sexual assault in the third degree after they claim he had sex with a girl who was incapacitated. Gaines’ defense attorney, Amy Welch, challenged this claim saying the sex was consensual and they were both drunk.

The prosecutor, David Buettner, told the jury that the complaining witness woke up with no pants and that she didn't even know what had happened. Gaines attorney said that they were both drunk and that the complaining witness had planned on having sex with Gaines.

Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle granted a motion for acquittal for Gaines on the charge of third degree sexual assault saying that the State had failed to provide sufficient evidence for the charge and that no reasonable jury could find him guilty. The jury began deliberating on Thursday and returned their verdict in court late Monday, finding Gaines not guilty of the charges of sexual assault in the second degree.

Prosecutors also charged Gaines with first degree harassment for inappropriately touching another girl at the party. The jury found Gaines guilty of this charge.

First degree harassment carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and up to a $25,000 fine. Gaines will be sentenced on August, 7.