News and Press Releases

Sherman Joseph Lavallie, Jr. Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on October 26, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, SHERMAN JOSEPH LAVALLIE, JR., a 19-year-old resident of Harlem, appeared for sentencing. LAVALLIE was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 36 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: life

LAVALLIE was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to abusive sexual contact.

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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that LAVALLIE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, LAVALLIE 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 a cooperative effort between the Fort Belknap Tribal Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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