United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
LOWER ELWHA TRIBAL MEMBER PLEADS GUILTY TO SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR
Defendant Admits Sexually Molesting Young Relative
LOUIS HUNTER BENNET, 33, of the Lower Elwha Tribe, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to three counts of sexual abuse of a minor. BENNET was first arrested by tribal police last summer after the victim disclosed the sexual abuse. Under the terms of his plea agreement, BENNET must be sentenced to between 87 and 99 months in prison or either side can withdraw from the plea agreement. BENNET is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on May 27, 2011.
According to the plea agreement signed today, BENNET engaged in sex acts with the young victim, who is under the age of 16, on three different occasions in 2009, and 2010. The child disclosed the abuse shortly after the third incident in August 2010. Because BENNET is a Tribal member, and the abuse occurred on Lower Elwha Indian Tribal Trust land, the case is being prosecuted in federal court.
The case was investigated by the Lower Elwha Tribal Police and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London. Mr. London serves as a tribal liaison for the United States Attorney’s Office.