Whether the sentence handed down by a U.S. District Court judge on Monday ends the years-long saga of Kodiak’s so-called “stripper boat” remains to be seen, but as it stands, the owner will not be jailed for his environmental crimes.
Darren Byler, who, with his wife, owned the Wild Alaskan, a crabber converted into a bar and strip club that they anchored outside Kodiak’s downtown harbors. Long-time Kodiak residents will remember the boat as the fishing vessel Shaman, a high-liner in its day. Byler was accused of dumping hundreds of gallons of raw sewage overboard into Kodiak’s inshore waters.
Monday, Judge Sharon Gleason sentenced Byler to five years of probation and a fine of $10,000. Prosecutors sought an 18-month sentence. Byler could have faced five years in federal prison and a $25,000 fine on each charge of giving false statements.
Byler told the Associated Press before sentencing that he would appeal even if he received probation. Byler has long claimed in interviews that he was targeted by the City of Kodiak and the Coast Guard because of the adult nature of his business and that there was no illegal dumping of sewage overboard. He could not convince a federal jury however.
Byler was convicted last month after an 11-day trial. Byler’s wife, Kimberly Riedel-Byler, was found innocent of the same charges.