Gerhard Curtis Stern Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on October 22, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, GERHARD CURTIS STERN, a 32-year-old resident of Ashland, appeared for sentencing. STERN was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 480 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Restitution: to be decided within 90 days
- Supervised Release: 20 years
STERN was sentenced after having been found guilty during a 2-day trial of aggravated sexual abuse. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.
At trial the government presented evidence of the following:
S.S., (d/o/b -/-/03) and her older sister were removed from their mother's care in Tennessee and placed in foster care there. They were removed due to alcohol and neglect issues but did not disclose sexual abuse or have sexualized behaviors while there.
In approximately August of 2007, the Tennessee Social Service sent the girls to live with their father, STERN, on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
In March 2008, S.S., then age 4, disclosed to a nurse at school that her father put his fingers and "a stick" in her privates and that he had put his penis in her mouth. S.S. said that the events took place recently at her home in Ashland. S.S.'s teacher and school counselor reported significant sexualized behavior by her during school. S.S. and her 5-year-old sister were removed from the home and placed in foster care. She was examined by a doctor at Indian Health Services, but no medical findings were made. S.S. also disclosed the same details to an FBI Interview Specialist.
When questioned, STERN denied the sexual abuse, but admitted to being both a drug user and frequent abuser of alcohol. STERN has a prior sexual abuse conviction as a juvenile for sexually offending a family member, for which he was sent to Pine Hills School in Miles City. STERN is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and the events occurred within the exterior boundaries of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that STERN will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, STERN does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.