Maria “Maureen” Athens is the Alaska-based news anchor who was arrested in relation to a sexting scandal involving the mayor of Anchorage, Ethan Berkowitz.
On October 12, Berkowitz, 58, said in a statement that he engaged in an “inappropriate messaging relationship” with Athens, 41. Berkowitz said that the relationship took place “several years” ago. As a result of the scandal, Berkowitz resigned as the mayor of Anchorage.
Berkowitz, a Democrat, was elected to his second and final term as Anchorage mayor in 2018. Since 2000, Berkowitz has been married to his wife, Dr. Mara Kimmel. The couple has two children together.
Athens wrote in a blog in 2004 that she is “a Greek-American from San Francisco, California.” According to an online resume, Athens has been based in Alaska since October 2015. Previously, Athens worked as a reporter in New York City and in Athens, Greece.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Athens Said ‘Reliable Sources’ Told Her That Berkowitz Posts Nude Photos to an ‘Underage Girls Website’
Athens says in an October 9 YouTube video that she confirmed Berkowitz posted nude photos to an “underage girls website.” Athens says in the video that she expects the story to become a national news story.
Athens also posted a photo she claimed was sent by Berkowitz to the website. The Associated Press reported that Athens’ boss at the ABC/Fox affiliate in Anchorage disavowed the story. The AP report identified the station manager as Athens’ boyfriend. The Anchorage Daily News named the station manager and boyfriend as Scott Centers.
On the same day that Athens made the allegations, she was arrested on trespassing charges inside the station’s headquarters in Anchorage. Anchorage authorities determined that Berkowitz committed no criminal act in relation to the photos.
2. Athens Majored in Diplomacy in College
According to Athens’ Twitter page, she is a graduate of Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. The page says she studied diplomacy, international relations and political science at the school. Athens lists New York, New York, as her hometown on Fox/ABC Anchorage’s homepage.
Athens wrote on a blog while she was in college that after graduation, her plan was to move to Athens, Greece, to work for the U.S. government in the country. Politically, Athens said her “main interests lie within the Balkan region, the United Nations, and the European Union.” In the same profile, Athens said her favorite pastime was traveling.
Athens told Seton Hall Magazine in a 2017 interview, “I wanted to be a newscaster since I could talk.” Athens told the magazine that thanks to her diplomacy degree she is able to “know what I was talking about.”
On her official Facebook page, Athens describes herself as the lead news anchor on Fox/ABC as well as the news program’s executive producer. Athens wrote in an October 6 Facebook post that she “found Jesus in Alaska and not in a Gree Orthodox Church or private Catholic School. #IFoundJesusChrist.” A few days before Athens made allegations against Berkowitz, Facebook posts show that she was on vacation with family in Las Vegas.
3. Earlier in October 2020, Athens Posted a Photo on Facebook of a Car With the Words: ‘Biden Likes Minors’ Written on a Window
Athens regularly posts tweets and retweets messages that are favorable to President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Athens posted a photo showing writing on a car that read, “Biden Likes Minors.” Athens said the photo was taken at Kriner’s Diner in Anchorage. In August 2020, The Anchorage Daily News reported that Andy Kriner, the owner of Kriner’s Diner, had reached a settlement with officials over his defiance of a city ordinance in relation to restaurants remaining closed for dine-in service due to the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Athens Allegedly Told Berkowitz in Voicemail: ‘I Am Such a Good Person & I Thought I Loved You’
In a voicemail purportedly sent by Athens to Berkowitz that was published by the Alaska Landmine, the news anchor says that she “thought” she loved Berkowitz.
The person leaving the message accuses Berkowitz of being a “pedophile” and calls the mayor a “Jewish piece of living f****** s***.” She says she would win an Emmy for her work in “exposing” Berkowitz. She also threatens to “kill” Berkowitz and his wife, Mara Kimmel.
Between 2016 and 2018, Athens interviewed Berkowitz more than 20 times, posts on her official Twitter page indicate.
5. Athens’ Father Is ‘Maverick Criminologist’ Lonnie Athens
Athens told Seton Hall Magazine in 2017 that her father, Lonnie, was a professor at the school. A 1999 feature on Lonnie Athens’ work in The New York Times referred to him as a “maverick criminologist.” The piece noted that Lonnie Athens was known for his research practices, which involved him traveling around the country to interview violent offenders inside of prisons.
Lonnie Athens told The Times that he was inspired to study criminology due to the violent nature of his father. The article noted that at the time, Lonnie Athens’ daughter, Maureen, was studying in college. Lonnie Athens developed his own theory on the development of violent offenders named “The Process of Violentization.” Lonnie Athens’ work was the subject of the 2018 documentary Why They Kill. In October 2018, the documentary aired on the Fox network’s Alaska affiliate.
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