Speaking of irony

The Anchorage Daily News reports what is arguably the ultimate in irony this weekend - the winner of a $500 000 state-wide lottery to benefit a nonprofit organisation that aids victims of sexual abuse is himself a convicted sex offender.

The newspaper reports that Alec Ahsoak (53) claimed his winnings on Saturday, from a surprised lottery organiser Abe Spicola of Lucky Times Pull Tabs in Anchorage.

Ahsoak said he planned to give $100 000 of the jackpot to Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) charity, which paired up with Lucky Times to conduct the lottery, Spicola said.

The lucky lottery winner was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in 1993, and once again in 2000, according to the state's sex offender registry. His past was first reported Saturday evening by KTUU, Channel 2 in Alaska.

KTUU anchor Jill Burke said she was at the Lucky Times office when Ahsoak approached her and said, 'Hey, I think I'm the winner.' On checking his ticket this proved to be the case, but later the station received an email from an undisclosed source, informing it that Ahsoak was listed as a sex offender.

"Ahsoak told the station that he's worked hard to turn his life around," the Anchorage Daily News reported. "He has been in treatment for the past year and wanted to use part of his winnings to help others. He told the station he was raised in foster homes and at the Jesse Lee Home for Children in Seward."

Spicola has estimated ticket sales approached 150 000 at $5 each. Lotteries and raffles can only be held in Alaska for charity, and STAR must get at least 10 percent of what's left after the prize is paid.

Ahsoak accepted $350 000 in cash rather than $500 000 because organisers must withhold federal taxes, Spicola said.

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