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Alaskan Private Prison Promoter Arrested in Mexico, Extradited to U.S. on Child Sexual Abuse Charges

In the 1980s, Bill Weimar became a rich man when his company, Allvest Corporation, owned and operated a chain of private halfway houses in Alaska. He heavily promoted building a private prison in Alaska, too, in conjunction with Cornell Corrections, but fell under the scrutiny of the FBI. In 2006 it was discovered that Weimar, among others, had been the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

He pleaded guilty to two federal felonies related to his failed attempt to get a Republican candidate for the Alaskan Senate, Jerry Ward, elected in exchange for Ward’s support of the private prison project. Weimar served six months in federal prison and completed his post-release supervision in December 2010. [See: PLN, March 2009, p.20].

Weimar, 71, moved far from Alaska, to Sarasota, Florida, where he kept a 60-foot luxury cabin cruiser, the “Renewal II.” In August 2010 he babysat a 6-year-old girl. Later, the girl’s mother noticed she was playing sex games with her Ken and Barbie dolls. When she inquired about this, the girl said that Weimar had asked her to perform oral sex on him and she had done so. She also said he was “mean.” The girl’s mother contacted the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

A detective questioned Weimar about the incident. He admitted babysitting the girl, but denied molesting her. He also said he was unaware of any reason why the girl or her mother would make up the allegations. When authorities came to arrest Weimar a few days later he was gone, but his boat remained docked at a local marina. Sexual battery on a six-year-old carries the possibility of a life sentence in Florida.

In January 2011, the Sheriff’s Office issued a fugitive warrant for Weimar. The U.S. Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs Enforcement tracked him down in Havana, Cuba, where he was most likely beyond extradition. However, they learned that he intended to travel to Mexico. Sheriff’s officials contacted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, which in turn requested the assistance of the Mexican Navy.

“Weimar was captured last night in Cancun, Mexico, and transported to Texas today, where he will await extradition to Florida,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a February 12, 2011 statement.

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight expressed high praise for the “outstanding inter-agency cooperation that contributed to the successful resolution of what was ultimately an international manhunt.”

However, notwithstanding such outstanding inter-agency cooperation, the sexual battery charges against Weimar were dropped in July 2011.

“It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the credibility of the child,” said Assistant State Attorney Dawn Buff; rather, there was no evidence that corroborated the girl’s accusations. “He’s crafty enough with his words and certainly knew anything he said could be used against him,” Buff remarked.

Weimar’s attorney, Martin Burzynski, spun the dismissal of the charges another way. “Based on a single statement by a child, a man can be arrested on his vacation in Mexico, with helicopters, gunships, dogs, blacked-out Suburbans and machine guns,” Burzynski stated. “Thrown into a jail in Mexico, transported to the border, handed over to the U.S. Marshals, brought to a jail in Texas, thrown into a holding cell for a week or two without being able to contact his lawyer or know what’s going on, and then transported in a van across the country that took almost 2½ weeks going from county to county.”

Of course, given Weimar’s background, he should well know that that is exactly how the American criminal justice system operates.


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