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Justice News

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

St. Francis Man Sentenced For Abusive Sexual Contact

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a St. Francis, South Dakota, man convicted of Abusive Sexual Contact was sentenced on January 14, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Vernon Verdell Blackhorse, age 63, was sentenced to 144 months in custody, 3 years of supervised release, a $3,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Blackhorse was indicted for Abusive Sexual Contact by a federal grand jury on May 15, 2013.  He pled guilty on November 6, 2013.
The conviction stems from an incident that took place in Eagle Butte between May 1, 2002, and August 30, 2002, when the victim was living at the home of a relative where the defendant was also staying.  The victim, who was age 11 or 12 at the time, was sleeping on a couch, and Blackhorse was laying on a couch behind her.  The victim woke up when she felt Blackhorse touching her over her clothing in a sexual manner.  The victim jumped off of the couch and was able to end the sexual contact. 
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie H. Ruettgers prosecuted the case.
Blackhorse was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated June 22, 2015