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Press Release

Muskogee Resident Sentenced To Life For Sexually Abusing Child In Indian Country

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

MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that Joseph Stanley Harjo, age 40, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, was sentenced to life in federal prison for Aggravated Sexual Abuse in Indian Country.  Harjo was found guilty of the offense by a federal jury in November 2021.

At trial, the United States presented evidence that in June 2016, Harjo sexually abused a six-year-old child.  Days later, the child disclosed the abuse and provided further details during a forensic interview.  Five additional witnesses testified at trial that Harjo sexually assaulted each of them when they were between the ages of four and twelve.

The case was investigated by the Muskogee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The defendant is clearly a sexual predator, and the life sentence imposed by the Court ensures he will never be able to victimize another child,” said United States Attorney Christopher J. Wilson. “I am thankful for the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners in this case. Their investigative work enabled my Assistant United States Attorneys to pursue the prosecution of the defendant and deliver justice to those he victimized.”

“Our children are our most vulnerable citizens, and we will do everything in our power to protect them by getting predators like Harjo off the street,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “His life sentence stands as a testament to the dedication and collaboration of the FBI, the Muskogee Police Department, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure justice is served for victims of the most serious crimes in Indian Country.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma prosecuted the case because the defendant is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe and the crime occurred in Muskogee County, within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The Honorable Ronald A. White, U.S. District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, presided over the sentencing hearing.  Harjo was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal to await transportation to a United States Bureau of Prisons facility to serve his non-paroleable sentence.

Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Marek and Morgan Muzljakovich represented the United States.

Updated March 30, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Indian Country Law and Justice