Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
March 01, 2012
INDIANA GRANDFATHER FOUND GUILTY OF GRAND CANYON CHILD ABUSE
PHOENIX – On Feb. 29, 2012, Christopher Allen Carlson, 45, of Indianapolis, Ind., was found guilty of three counts of Criminally Negligent Child Abuse by a federal jury in Phoenix. Carlson was acquitted on three other counts of Child Abuse. The trial before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone began on Feb. 15, 2012, and continued through Feb. 29, 2012. Carlson was detained pending sentencing, which is set before Judge Martone on June 14, 2012.
“Each year, millions of people from all over the world come to Arizona to witness the grandeur of the Grand Canyon,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “President Theodore Roosevelt once said of the Grand Canyon, ‘Keep it for your children and your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American . . . must see.’ Unfortunately, the child victims of this crime saw the canyon in a way that placed their health at risk. I commend our law enforcement partners and the prosecution team for the steps they took to protect these children from harm.”
“We are very pleased with the verdict,” said Bill Wright, Chief Ranger, Grand Canyon National Park. “It means Carlson won't be able to put children at risk again. We hope this case acts as a reminder to everyone that, like adults, children have rights in terms of their welfare and how they are treated, even by those closest to them.”
The evidence at trial showed that Carlson took his three grandsons, ages 8, 9, and 12, on two separate hikes to the Grand Canyon in August, 2011. Although the temperature during both hikes exceeded 100 degrees, Carlson severely limited water and food to the victims, marched and ran them up dangerous terrain, and placed their health at risk. The jury found that Carlson’s conduct during the second hike, which occurred on August 28, 2011, constituted Criminally Negligent Child Abuse.
A conviction for Criminally Negligent Child Abuse carries a maximum penalty of 5.75 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $150,000, for each count. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Martone will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch and the Law Enforcement Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park. The prosecution is being handled by Camille D. Bibles and Dyanne C. Greer, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix. Starting next week, Ms. Bibles will be taking a leave of absence from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to take a position at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. Ms. Bibles will serve as a Trial Attorney in the prosecution of Ratko Mladic for crimes committed in Bosnia and Hertzegovina.
CASE NUMBER: CR-11-8185-PCT-FJM
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-051(Carlson)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/