Ronald Dean Rides Horse Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on September 21, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, RONALD DEAN RIDES HORSE, a 37-year-old resident of Crow Agency, pled guilty to misprision of a felony. Sentencing has been set for September 21, 2011. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In July 2010, law enforcement received information that Gilbert George Walks, Jr. had taken sexually explicit images of teen girls while they appeared to be passed out. Some of the photos, along with negatives, were found in Walks' possessions. Both girls were questioned and neither had any recollection of the photographs, which depict each of them completely unconscious, dressed by Walks in a pair of white thigh-high nylons and high heels. In one girl's case, Walks also photographed himself having sex with the girl. The exact dates of the photographs are unknown.
When Walks' son found the first set of negatives, he took them from his father's room intending to turn them in to law enforcement. However, he began drinking with a friend that evening and ultimately had an alcohol-related car accident in which he was seriously injured. The photographs were in the vehicle that was wrecked. No one from the wrecker assigned to tow the vehicle found the photographs and negatives in the vehicle or at the accident scene. The matter was not reported or investigated at that time. A second set of negatives and photographs was found by another of Walks' sons some time later and law enforcement was finally contacted.
When questioned, Walks admitted that he had sex with one girl while she was passed out after disrobing and re-clothing her and photographing the scene. He denies having sex with the other girl, claiming to have only disrobed and photographed her. He is a convicted sexual offender who was on supervision at the time. Walks was charged and ultimately pled guilty to the offense.
While Walks' case was pending, a Crow law enforcement supervisor was cleaning out gear bags of former officers at the Crow Police Department so the bags could be reused. In a bag belonging RIDES HORSE, a former Crow Tribal police officer, the first set of negatives and pictures found by Walks' son were found. Further investigation revealed that RIDES HORSE had been the officer who responded to the scene of the alcohol-related accident in which Walks' son was seriously injured. He found the pictures and negatives inside the vehicle and took them, then kept them in his bag and never reported the matter.
Once the negatives and pictures were found, RIDES HORSE was questioned. He had been fired from the Crow Police Department earlier. RIDES HORSE admitted that he knew who the people in the pictures were and that they were evidence of a crime. He did not put in his reports that he had found the pictures, nor did he notify anyone. RIDES HORSE admitted that he became aware of the FBI investigation into the pictures while he kept them, but still did not turn them in because he did not want to get in trouble for having kept them in his property. RIDES HORSE knew that Walks had committed a felony, and he concealed the crime by affirmatively keeping the negatives and pictures and did not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil authority under the United States.
RIDES HORSE faces possible penalties of 3 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 1 year supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.