Tacoma – A 69-year-old member of the Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 34 years in prison for nine federal crimes related to the sexual abuse of minors, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Joseph Anthony Turrey, of Port Angeles, Washington, was convicted following a seven-day jury trial in March 2023. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said Turrey had shown no sign of remorse telling Turrey, “You demonstrated a wantonness, a cruelty, and mercilessness…. No restitution can give (your victims) back what was stolen from them.”
In 2021, according to records filed in the case, three victims disclosed abuse by the defendant that occurred between 2008 and 2016. The charged assaults occurred on tribal land, triggering federal jurisdiction. Two of the victims were as young as 6 and 7 years old when the sexual assaults began.
Early in his career, in 1993-94, Turrey served as a law enforcement officer on the Hoh Reservation. Turrey, and those who knew him at that time, described his role as Chief of Police. The Hoh Tribe has no record of that position but is aware that Turrey was employed by the tribe and supervised a fisheries enforcement officer. Turrey went on to serve as a police officer for the Lower Elwah Tribe and also served on the Tribal Council.
In her statement to the court, Assistant United States Attorney Kristine Foerster said Turrey “held positions of power while exploiting children.”
Turrey was convicted of six counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor, two counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, and one count of Abusive Sexual Contact.
The case was investigated by the FBI and Lower Elwha S’Klallam Police Department, with assistance from the National Park Service.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kristine Foerster, Will Dreher, and Jonas Lerman.