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Press Release

Former Lame Deer pastor sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing children on Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

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

BILLINGS — A former Lame Deer pastor, who was convicted in a jury trial of sexually abusing children on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

A federal jury on Dec. 11, 2023 found the defendant, Dean Alan Smith, 67, guilty of aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact by force and two counts of abusive sexual contact by force and of a child. The jury acquitted Smith of one count of abusive sexual contact of a child.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

“Pastor Smith’s prison sentence, while significant, does not come close to the lifetime of trauma his victims will have to endure.  But I hope knowing that Smith will likely spend the rest of his life in federal prison gives them some peace of mind that he won’t be able to abuse others.  Far too often, and unacceptably so, we are unable to obtain justice for children sexually abused in Indian Country.  But justice was achieved here, and it would not have occurred without the bravery of our victims or the tenacity of our federal partners and prosecutors, for which I am grateful,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

The government alleged in court documents and at trial that Smith was the pastor of a local church in Lame Deer, on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, and that during his time on the reservation, he and his wife housed several foster children and temporarily hosted other children from the community. In approximately 2021 and 2022, four girls, identified as Jane Does 1, 2, 3 and 4, disclosed being sexually abused by Smith between 2017 and 2020 when they were staying or living at Smith’s home. The government alleged that Smith abused each of them, separately and in private, on multiple occasions. All of the victims were under the age of 12 at the time.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The FBI conducted the investigation.



Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated April 10, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-94