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Press Release

Former Executive Officer of the Southern Ute Tribe Sentenced to 13.5 Years in Prison for Sexually Assaulting a Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DURANGO – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that McKean Walton, age 52, of Ignacio, Colorado, was sentenced to 13.5 years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, and a $5,000 special assessment.  Walton is the former Executive Officer of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, headquartered in Ignacio, Colorado.  Walton resigned from his position in September 2020, following his arrest in this matter. 

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, Walton sexually assaulted a twelve-year-old child in his care on multiple occasions in Fall of 2010 and Summer of 2011.  Walton committed the sexual assaults by using force, while in the living room of a home on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. 

“Our office will enforce the law against all offenders, no matter what position of authority they hold,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan. “While justice may have been long in coming in this case, thanks to the courage of the victim and the tenacity of our law enforcement partners, justice has finally arrived.”  

“This sentence rightly holds Mr. Walton accountable for his deplorable conduct in this case,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider of the FBI Denver Division. “The FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to thoroughly investigative crimes against the most vulnerable members of our community, regardless of how many years have passed since the time of the incident.”

United States District Court Judge Robert Blackburn issued the sentence on December 7, 2021.  Walton pleaded guilty on July 30, 2021.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey K. Graves handled the prosecution.

Case number:  20-cr-00260-REB-JMC

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Updated December 7, 2021

Indian Country Law and Justice