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Iditarod musher reports getting groped during Alaska race

Alaska authorities are investigating after a female competitor in this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said two men groped her as her team passed by.

Female competitor said two men groped her as she passed by near Nulato

Dogs on the Iditarod trail in Alaska. (Reuters)

Alaska authorities are investigating after a female competitor in this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said two men groped her as her team passed by.

Alaska State Trooper James Lester says he's investigating the March 13 incident as harassment for now. The musher reported the groping at the checkpoint in the village of Nulato, almost 560 kilometres from the Nome finish line.

It happened a day after authorities say a man on a snowmobile intentionally drove into two top Iditarod teams near Nulato, killing one dog and injuring others.

Lester described the groping as offensive touching on the buttocks.

Lester says he's been trying to contact the musher and hasn't interviewed her yet. The woman couldn't immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press on Monday.

The Iditarod released a timeline of the incident Friday, saying two men had stopped next to the trail, and the musher thought they wanted to give her a high-five. Race marshal Mark Nordman said in the release that he immediately contacted authorities after a race judge notified him.

Nordman referred questions to the timeline when reached Monday by phone. Asked if the groping and snowmobile attack this year would lead to changes, Nordman again referred to the timeline, which states that further discussion "will occur in coming months."

It is not clear why Iditarod officials did not release information about the incident earlier. Nordman and race CEO Stan Hooley did not return messages later Monday seeking additional information.

The Iditarod quickly announced the March 12 snowmobile attack against the teams of musher Aliy Zirkle, who finished third this year, and four-time champion Jeff King, who came in ninth. One of King's dogs was killed, and others in both teams were injured.

In those cases, Arnold Demoski has been charged with assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. His attorney, Bill Satterberg, declined to comment on the case through his office Monday.

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