News and Press Releases

St. Michael Man Sentenced for Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault

January 13, 2012

FARGO - U. S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Jan. 13, 2012, Joseph Brown, Jr., of St. Michael, N.D., was sentenced before U.S. District Chief Judge Ralph R. Erickson on a charge of attempted aggravated sexual abuse.

Judge Erickson sentenced Brown to life imprisonment to be followed by lifetime supervised release, in the event he should ever be released from custody. Brown was ordered to pay $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund and ordered to register as a sex offender.

In Bismarck U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon said, “Joe Brown has a history of sexually assaulting vulnerable women and women in tribal communities. As a result of the life sentence handed down today, it is unlikely he will ever have the chance to claim another victim.”

On Nov. 3, 2011, Brown, 59, was found guilty by a 12-person jury of attempting to rape a young woman while using force. The incident occurred on Aug. 18, 2009, at Brown’s rural farm on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. On that date, Brown drove the victim to his rural farm where he attempted to rape her. The victim was able to fight Brown off and ran away, hiding under a farm tractor. Brown found her and drug her into the farm house, where he again assaulted and attempted to rape her. She was once again
able to escape and notified law enforcement of the attack and attempted rape.

Because Brown had more than two previous convictions for serious violent crimes he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. Brown’s previous convictions for violent crimes included three (3) sex related crimes and as well as felonious restraint and aggravated assault crimes. U.S. District Chief Judge Ralph R. Erickson presided over the three day trial.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Janice M. Morley prosecuted the case.






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