Mandi Verde Dust Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on May 20, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, MANDI VERDE DUST, a 21-year-old resident of Crow Agency, pled guilty to retaliation. Sentencing is set for August 26, 2009. She is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On February 13, 2009, DUST burned the property (clothes and household items) of a 7-year-old sexual abuse victim and her family. DUST did this because the victim reported the abuse to law enforcement, and the abuser, who is related to DUST, was arrested by the Crow Tribe. DUST had been drinking when she found out about the arrest and became very angry. She then went to the house of the victim and took the property out to the front yard and set it on fire.
An FBI agent driving by the house saw the fire burning and an investigation led to DUST. When DUST was interviewed, she admitted that she had burned the property in retaliation for her relative being arrested and taken to jail.
DUST faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.