Jury convicts Lodge Grass man of sexually abusing children on Northern Cheyenne, Crow Indian reservations
BILLINGS — A jury today convicted a Lodge Grass man of sexually abusing two children in the 1990s on the Northern Cheyenne and the Crow Indian reservations, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
A jury found Donald Ray Gardner, 58, guilty on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two counts of abusive sexual contact. The two-day trial began on Monday, Oct. 18.
Gardner faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on each count.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters set sentencing for March 2, 2022 and ordered Gardner detained pending further proceedings.
“A jury held Gardner accountable for sexually abusing children over a period of years. Children must be protected from sexual predators, and we will prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek and the FBI for investigating and prosecuting the case,” Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson said.
In court documents and in evidence presented at trial, the government alleged that Gardner engaged in a sexual act and in sexual contact with a victim, identified as Jane Doe 1, in 1994 in Lame Deer, on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The government further alleged Gardner engaged in a sexual act and in sexual contact with another victim, identified as Jane Doe 2, in the Crow Agency area on the Crow Reservation in 1996 and in 1998. Both victims were under the age of 12 at the time.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.