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Press Release

Suquamish Tribal Couple Sentenced to Prison for Repeated Physical Abuse of their Children

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Six Children under the Age of Eight Removed from Home by Tribal Welfare Workers

          A member of the Suquamish Tribe and his wife were sentenced to prison today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for the repeated physical abuse of two of their six children, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  GARNET L. MABE, 32, of Suquamish, Washington was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  MELISSA F. MABE, 35, was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release.  Six children have been removed from their care and Suquamish Tribal authorities are working to terminate their parental rights.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “this is a tragic situation.  To see two parents who turn on their children and treat them in this fashion is inexplicable…. You robbed your children of their childhood and their trust.”

            According to records filed in the case, Suquamish Tribal Child Welfare workers received a complaint reporting abuse of the MABE children in February 2015.  Workers went to the home on the Suquamish Reservation and interviewed the children.  The two oldest children, ages 8 and 7, had multiple bruises and reported being hit, choked and kicked by their parents.  All of the children were removed from the home, and were taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital for further evaluation.  The investigation revealed that the children had been choked to the point of passing out; had been poked and cut with knives; had been kicked in the stomach; had been beaten with drumsticks, a back scratcher and metal ladle; and had been punished by being denied food.  

            The couple was charged federally in May 2015 and was indicted by the grand jury in June 2015.  In February 2016 each pleaded guilty to two counts of Assault of a Child Resulting in Substantial Bodily Injury.

            The Suquamish Tribal Police, the Suquamish Tribal Child Welfare Department and the FBI investigated the case.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Rebecca Cohen.  The case was prosecuted federally as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office mission to combat crimes of violence in Tribal communities.

Updated September 8, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime