Owner of floating strip club bemoans ‘unfair treatment’


AP

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska man convicted of illegally dumping human waste into a harbor from his floating strip club said he plans to appeal whatever sentence is imposed Friday afternoon.

Hours before his sentencing following his conviction on federal charges that could land him in prison, Darren Byler claimed in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he was targeted because of disapproval over the business he ran on the 94-foot “Wild Alaskan,” a converted crabbing boat.

“Simply put, I was selectively and maliciously prosecuted by an emotionally charged case because of what I was doing with my entertainment charter. That’s just the bottom line,” he said while waiting to catch a flight to Anchorage from Kodiak Island. “This is all about morality police.”

Federal prosecutors have recommended an 18-month prison sentence for Byler.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon denied in an interview that Byler was targeted because of his business and said evidence showed the U.S. Coast Guard tried to work with Byler to bring his waste disposal practices into compliance.

“This was a case, in our view, based upon all the facts, that required prosecution,” Reardon said.

Byler’s attorney, John Cashion, in a sentencing memorandum asked the judge to consider a fine and probation instead of prison time. Cashion said that Byler is “especially needed as a partner to his wife and family in a frontier subsistence environment.”

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, Byler’s wife Kimberly Riedel-Byler also asked for her husband to be kept out of prison.