ANCHORAGE, Alaska (MCT) Robert Hale, the 67-year-old wilderness patriarch who found fame and notoriety in Alaska as Papa Pilgrim, died Saturday night at the Anchorage Correctional Complex, the state Department of Corrections said.
Hale had been in declining health since his arrest on rape and incest charges in September 2005. He was in hospice care in the Anchorage jail at the time of his death around 9 p.m. A chaplain and some family members were present, a corrections official said.
The head of a family of 17, Hale moved to Alaska from New Mexico in 1998 and settled in McCarthy in 2002, where he engaged in a high-profile battle with the National Park Service over access to his remote land. He was a devout self-guided Christian who kept his family isolated from outside influences, including churches.
His family finally broke with him in 2005 and eventually reported to Alaska State Troopers that he had beaten and raped his eldest daughter repeatedly for years, keeping his actions secret from the family. Hale was indicted and arrested, and finally pleaded guilty to charges of rape, assault and incest.