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Press Release

Baraga Man Sentenced in KBIC Beating and Hannahville Sexual Assault

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

      MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN – Joel Thomas Smith, 24, of Baraga, Michigan, was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison for assault resulting in serious bodily injury and sexual abuse of a minor, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar ordered Smith to serve eight years of supervised release following his release from prison, and to pay a $200 special assessment. Smith, who was on federal supervised release from a 2009 conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon, was sentenced to an additional18 months in federal prison for the violation of his supervised release.

      On May 13, 2013, Smith pleaded guilty to a federal indictment charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and a felony information charging him with sexual abuse of a minor. The assault charge arose from an incident at a residence in Baraga, Michigan, on the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community reservation on February 11, 2013. During this incident, Smith assaulted his live-together girlfriend, fracturing one of her ribs. The sexual assault charge stemmed from an incident in summer 2007 at a residence located on the Hannahville Indian Community reservation. During this incident, Smith, who was 19 at the time, engaged in sexual intercourse with a 13 year-old girl. This incident first came to light in May 2011, when the victim first disclosed what had happened to her.

      The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Police, the Hannahville Indian Community Tribal Police and the FBI investigated the cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul D. Lochner prosecuted the cases.


Updated April 14, 2015