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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 12, 2021

Jury Finds Bridger Man Guilty on Multiple Sexual Abuse Charges

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that Bennett Belt, age 48, of Bridger, South Dakota, was found guilty of three counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, one count of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, and one count of Abusive Sexual Contact of a Child, as a result of a four-day federal jury trial in Pierre, South Dakota.  The verdict was returned on November 5, 2021.

The convictions carry a maximum mandatory minimum of 30 years, up to life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, a lifetime of supervised release, a $500 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and restitution may be ordered. 

Belt was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 11, 2020. 

Between July 2003 and September 2017, in Bridger, Belt engaged in multiple sexual acts with minors with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, and degrade the victims, and to arouse and gratify Belt’s own sexual desire.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, and the Pennington County Sherriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay Miller and Abby Roesler prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation report was ordered and a sentencing date is to be set.  Belt was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after the jury announced its verdict.

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Updated November 12, 2021