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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Thursday, May 23, 2013

St. Francis Man Charged With Aggravated Sexual Abuse Of A Child, Aggravated Sexual Contact With A Child, And Abusive Sexual Contact

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a St. Francis, South Dakota man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, Aggravated Sexual Contact with a Child, and Abusive Sexual Contact.

Vernon Blackhorse, age 63, was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 15, 2013. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on May 20, 2013 and pled not guilty to the indictment. The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both; life of supervised release; and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

The charge is merely an accusation and Blackhorse is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie H. Ruettgers is prosecuting the case.

Blackhorse was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending trial. A trial date has not been set.

Updated June 22, 2015