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`INCIDENT’ RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT TEENS’ SENTENCE

SHARE `INCIDENT’ RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT TEENS’ SENTENCE

The banishment of two Indian teenagers to remote islands as a tribal alternative to traditional criminal sentencing hit a snag when one needed emergency dental care.

Authorities say that a possible criminal violation - they wouldn't say what - happened during Adrian Guthrie's visit Friday to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium clinic in Ketchikan.Nobody at the clinic wanted to press charges against Guthrie, director Bill Burton said. But the incident raised concern that a police officer should monitor medical visits by Guthrie and Simon Roberts, another 17-year-old Tlingit Indian banished for a year to 18 months.

"They're technically prisoners, and prisoners are always accompanied by a state trooper or police officer," Burton said.

Stephen West, assistant district attorney in Ketchikan, said he would decide in the next couple of days whether the state would file charges against Guthrie.

Guthrie, who needed wisdom teeth removed, was in the custody of Rudy James, the Tlingit man who persuaded a Washington state judge to allow a tribal court to sentence the teens.

The two cousins had pleaded guilty in May to robbing and beating a pizza deliveryman with a baseball bat. The deliveryman suffered permanent damage to his sight and hearing.

Guthrie and Roberts were banished in September to separate, uninhabited islands in Alaska's vast Alexander Archipelago.

Guthrie was not immediately returned to his island because tribal officials wanted to be sure he did not get an infection from the dental work, according to KOMO-TV in Seattle.

The youths are supposed to spend their banishment living off the land, purifying themselves and reflecting on the shame they have brought their people.