News and Press Releases

TRIBAL MEMBER SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN PRISON FOR AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ABUSE
Man Raped Girl Under the Age of Twelve

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2009

DOUGLAS MICHAEL EDWARDS, 22, now of Auburn, Washington, a member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and five years of supervised release for Aggravated Sexual Abuse. EDWARDS was found guilty February 13, 2009, following a three day jury trial. EDWARDS raped a young girl on the Upper Skagit Indian Reservation when he was a neighbor and babysitter for the girl in 2003. In all, EDWARDS was charged with sexual assaults on three young girls, but the jury was unable to reach verdicts on two of the counts. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said, “the facts and circumstances of the case justify a significant period of confinement.” Judge Coughenour said he was also cognizant of EDWARDS’ “troubled youth,” and the surrounding circumstances on the reservation.” EDWARDS will be required to register as a sex offender.

EDWARDS was indicted in May 2008, following the disclosure by the young Upper Skagit Tribal members that EDWARDS had molested them when one was as young as four-years-old. Two other victims disclosed that they were molested when they were six and nine years old. EDWARDS lived for a time on the same block as the girls on the Skagit Reservation, and was hired at various times to babysit the girls in their homes. Edwards was convicted of raping one girl at age six when he was babysitting because her mother was in the hospital.

In asking for a significant sentence Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown wrote to the court saying, “There is perhaps no more devastating of a crime than the sexual assault of a child, particularly when the offense is committed by a close family member. His conduct has left a permanent scar on (the victim), who is currently in counseling in an effort to address the trauma. Moreover, his assault and breach of trust ripped apart a close knit family.”

The case was prosecuted federally because the crime occurred on Indian land and involved enrolled tribal members.

The case was investigated by the Upper Skagit Reservation Tribal Police Department and the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas Brown, Jill Otake, and J. Tate London. Mr. London serves as the Tribal Liaison for the United States Attorney’s Office.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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