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Press Release

Joseph Christopher Birdtail Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

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

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on May 16, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, JOSEPH CHRISTOPHER BIRDTAIL, a 36-year-old resident of Harlem and an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, pled guilty to abusive sexual contact. Sentencing has been set for August 27, 2013. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On Friday, June 22, 2012, BIRDTAIL sexually abused an approximately one-and-a-half years old child. The child was taken to an emergency room where a doctor confirmed that the victim had been sexually abused.

BIRDTAIL was interviewed and admitted that he had abused the victim.

The crime occurred on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

BIRDTAIL faces possible penalties of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Belknap Tribes Law Enforcement.

Updated January 14, 2015