Vern Thomas Gardipee Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on June 18, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, VERN THOMAS GARDIPEE, a 49-year-old resident of Box Elder and an enrolled member of the federally recognized Chippewa Cree Indian Tribe, pled guilty to sexual abuse of a minor. Sentencing has been set for September 25, 2013. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danna R. Jackson, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On April 27 and 28, 2012, GARDIPEE sexually abused a young girl. GARDIPEE got into bed with the victim and sexually abused her. The victim tried to get away from GARDIPEE and eventually got GARDIPEE to stop his advances but not until after sexual contact occurred.
GARDIPEE faces possible penalties of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.