Mark James King

Mark James King confers with attorney Gary Stapp during a break in his trial Tuesday. King is accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls in 2015 and 2016.

A Fairbanks jury heard closing arguments and began deliberations Friday in the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls in 2015 and 2016.

Mark James King, 50, allegedly played drinking games and had tickle fights with several teenage girls at his home. King is accused of having sex with one of the girls and of buying her lingerie and an adult toy when she was 13 years old. He’s also accused of molesting one of the girl’s friends. 

During his closing argument, King’s attorney Gary Stapp described the girls’ allegations as King’s “worst nightmare,” characterized the tickle fights as “kids stuff” and said King’s accusers were liars.

“You may think if a young girl can get on the stand and say it, it must be true. That may be human nature, you want to believe the victim,” Stapp said. “We’ve given tremendous power to young girls, to anyone that says ‘I was sexually abused. Someone did this to me.’ Whatever the allegation, anything related to improper touch. My goodness. It’s tremendous power.”

Assistant District Attorney Risa Leonard told the jury that King’s professed horror over the allegations should not be confused with innocence.

“Of course it’s his worst nightmare — he was caught!” Leonard said, adding that King thought he had the victims intimidated into silence. “He thought he was in control, because he had convinced 13-year-old girls to drink. He gave himself the opportunity by getting them drunk, he played games with them to make them feel safe and secure. He tickled them so that he had the opportunity to touch them, so they’d get used to his touch,” Leonard said. 

The jury went into deliberations at about 2 p.m. Friday. A verdict was not reached and deliberations will continue Monday morning. 

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.