News and Press Releases

Sherman Joseph Lavallie, Jr. Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on July 28, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, SHERMAN JOSEPH LAVALLIE, JR., a 19-year-old resident of Harlem, pled guilty to abusive sexual contact. Sentencing is set for October 26, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah J. French, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In February of 2008, LAVALLIE began living with his grandmother on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. LAVALLIE'S grandmother has a granddaughter, H.L., who was born in 1998. H.L. often visited her grandmother during the time LAVALLIE was living in the grandmother's home.

LAVALLIE'S grandmother arrived home around 6:30 p.m. on February 19, 2009, and found H.L. alone in the house with LAVALLIE. The next day, H.L. told the assistant principal at her school that LAVALLIE had been touching her in places she did not want to be touched. According to H.L., she sometimes went into LAVALLIE'S room to watch television while visiting her grandmother. While she and LAVALLIE were in his room, LAVALLIE put his hand up her shirt and touched her chest. He also touched her genitalia area, over her pants. This had been happening for about a year before H.L.'s disclosure to the assistant principal at her school - most recently on February 19, 2009, the day before her initial disclosure.

When interviewed, LAVALLIE admitted to touching H.L. in the area of her breasts and genitalia on four separate occasions between February of 2008 and February of 2009. LAVALLIE faces possible penalties of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Fort Belknap Tribal Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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