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Man Held on $1m Bail for Restraining, Raping 17-year-old on New Year's Day

By Matthew F Smith, Digital Producer, msmith@ktuu.com
Published On: Jan 03 2014 11:24:07 PM AKST
Updated On: Jan 04 2014 11:39:40 AM AKST
ANCHORAGE -

Police arrested 18-year-old Jessye Raine Potts for allegedly tying down and raping a 17-year-old girl whom police say he invited for a walk on New Year’s Day.

Anchorage police charged Potts with kidnapping and four counts of sexual assault in the first degree, as well as charges of second- and fourth-degree sexual assault. He was arraigned on charges Thursday and faces $1 million cash bail.

“Our justice system has set precedence with regard to this bail amount and we hope this sets a standard for future offenders to ensure the safety of our citizens,” said APD Sgt. Ken McCoy with the special victims unit.

Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion said Friday that prosecutors will not pursue the kidnapping charge.

Court records show the victim left her home New Year’s Day just after 3 p.m. to meet up with a friend she knew only as “Jessye” after he sent her a text message inviting her for a walk.

She walked to his home and they left together on a walk through their Ocean View neighborhood, walking near Jon’s Park and the railroad tracks along Cook Inlet.

The two stopped to rest on a small hilltop when, court records show, Potts said “sometimes crazy things pop into my head.” Police reports state that the victim “became nervous” and, moments later, answered a cell phone call from her mother and promised to be home soon.

Police say Potts grabbed the phone and ended the call. He handed the phone back to the victim but shortly after reached for it again and began hitting her multiple times on the back of her head. She fell on her back, but court records charge Potts turned her over and again struck her on the back of her head.

A police affidavit for the case explains Potts used duct tape to tie the victim’s wrists together and her mouth shut before sitting on the back of her head while pushing her face deep into the snow. “That victim stated that she thought the suspect was attempting to suffocate her,” the affidavit writes.

Court records state that the victim stopped struggling, and that’s when Pott’s allegedly raped her.

After the sexual assault, police say Potts fled the scene, only to return. When the victim begged him to stop, Potts reportedly “removed duct tape” from the victim and told her he “did not know what she was talking about” and fled.

The victim reported the rape to a nearby house. She was taken to the Multi-Disciplinary Center for a sexual assault examination. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners observed injuries to her skull and finger.

Police say the victim identified Pott’s home and later positively identified Potts from a photographic lineup. Potts was found at home with his family and arrested.

“With the victim seeking help quickly, detectives were able to investigate the case in a timely manner and make an arrest,” Sgt. McCoy said. “We would like to encourage all victims of sexual assault to report as soon as possible, because in these cases time is of the essence to gather the evidence necessary for a successful prosecution.”

KTUU's Chris Klint contributed to this story