United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Wakpala man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Sexual Abuse of a Person Incapable of Consenting and Aggravated Sexual Assault by Force.
Justin Birdhorse, age 34, was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 22, 2011, for Sexual Abuse of a Person Incapable of Consenting and Aggravated Sexual Assault by Force. He appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on September 6, 2011, and pled not guilty to the indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charges are the result of an August 2011 incident at Wakpala involving a Wakpala woman. The charges are merely accusations, and Birdhorse is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Standing Rock Agency. Assistant United States Attorney Mikal Hanson is prosecuting the case.
Birdhorse was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending trial. A trial date has not yet been set.