Port Gamble S’klallam Tribal Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Five Counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor
Defendant Assaulted Young Relatives between 1999 and 2005
A 59–year old enrolled member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to life imprisonment for five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor. In October 2015, a jury convicted LEROY CHARLES following a five day trial. At sentencing U.S District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “Mr. Charles is in every sense an evil man…. Because of the awful offenses and fallout from those offenses, the pain and hurt he has inflicted makes these very serious offenses…This (sentence) deters Mr. Charles from ever inflicting pain and hurt on anyone again.”
“For years, this defendant raped and abused helpless children, and threatened them and their families with further violence,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “I commend the strength and perseverance shown by these now young adults in coming forward and seeking justice in this case. Because of the victims’ courage, they have ensured that the defendant will never again have the opportunity to victimize children or other members of their community.”
According to testimony at trial, between 1999 to 2005, CHARLES viciously raped his minor relatives when they were adolescents or young teenagers at various times and places on the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation. CHARLES overpowered the victims -- in one instance, drugging and then raping the child, and in another instance, tying up and raping the child. CHARLES threatened to kill each of the victims and their families if they disclosed the abuse. When one of the victims left the reservation, CHARLES traveled to the victim’s out-of-state residence, again threatening the victim and saying he would be able to find the victim anywhere. Trial testimony also established that CHARLES raped two other minor aged relatives, in the mid 1980’s, when they were 5 and 6 years old. For one of the relatives, the sexual assaults continued for years until the child was nearly 11 years old.
Writing to the court the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Council told Judge Leighton, “The Council is worried that the tribe’s well-being would be jeopardized if the defendant is released.”
The case was investigated by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Police and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Bruce Miyake.