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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Man Sentenced to 6.5 Years in Federal Prison for Sexual Abuse on the Umatilla Indian Reservation

The abuse began when the victim was 14 years old

PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown sentenced Thomas Lee Bear, 31, of Lewiston, Idaho, yesterday to 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.  In January 2013, Bear pled guilty before Judge Brown to sexual abuse of a minor.  After Bear completes his prison term, he will be required to register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment.  Bear has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest in this case in July 2012.

“It is absolutely repugnant for grown men to use the internet to prey upon teenage girls,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall.  “The rate of sexual abuse against girls in Indian Country is tragically high.  The prison sentence in this case should serve as a warning to anyone who would do harm to the children of Tribal Nations.”

Bear admitted to having sexual intercourse with a girl on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in the fall of 2011.  The victim, who was 14 years old at the time the sex abuse began, is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.  Bear further admitted that he used a social networking website to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce the victim into having sexual intercourse.

This case was investigated by the Umatilla Tribal Police Department and the FBI’s Office in Pendleton, Oregon. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel.

Updated January 29, 2015