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Press Release

Wanblee Man Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison

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

RAPID CITY - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier has sentenced a Wanblee, South Dakota, man convicted of one count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse and two counts of Sexual Abuse. The sentencing took place on December 15, 2023.

Anthony Red Elk, 34, was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment and ordered to pay a total of $300 in special assessments to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. The life imprisonment sentences shall be served concurrently.

Red Elk was indicted for the charges by a federal grand jury in November of 2021. He was found guilty following a federal jury trial in Rapid City, South Dakota, in July of 2023.

The convictions relate to Red Elk sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl at Wanblee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, while the young girl babysat Red Elk’s child in his home. Red Elk then sexually abused the same female in 2018 and again in 2019 at Wanblee, after she had reached the age of 18. Red Elk threatened her should she tell anyone and taunted her that no one would believe her if she came forward.

Red Elk previously worked at the Crazy Horse School in Wanblee as a basketball coach, bus driver, and custodian. He also worked in a juvenile detention facility. He was fired from the Crazy Horse School in January of 2019, for sending sexually explicit Facebook messages to a student.

This matter was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office because the Major Crimes Act, a federal statute, mandates that certain violent crimes alleged to have occurred in Indian country be prosecuted in Federal court as opposed to State court.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Knox prosecuted and tried the case.

Red Elk was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.


Updated December 18, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice