Corrections officer charged with sex abuse of girl

PALMER – An official with the state Department of Corrections confirmed today that a Palmer Correctional Center officer has been arrested for sexual abuse of a minor.

Director of Institutions Garland Armstrong said officer Joel Larson, a 14-year veteran with the department, was arrested away from his work site on Friday.

In an affidavit, Wasilla police officer Rick Manrique, states that he re-opened a case in which a Palmer a teenager accused Larson of sexual abuse in 2006 but later recanted the statement under pressure from a family member. She was sentenced at that time for filing a false report.

During an interview in August with Manrique, the girl said she “is tired of living the family lie and is ready to do something about it.”

On Sept. 24, Manrique had the girl wear a wire and as well as carry a recording device when she met Larson at a grocery store in Palmer. During the conversation, Larson allegedly recalled incidents of sexual relations with the now 17-year-old girl.

Manrique contacted Larson Sept. 29, but Larson admitted nothing.

He was arrested on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and five counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, all felonies.

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 6 in front of Magistrate David Zwink.