United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Justin Birdhorse, age 34, of Wakpala, South Dakota, appeared before United States District Judge Charles B. Kornmann on January 10, 2012, and pled guilty to a count of his indictment that charged him with sexual abuse. The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both.
The conviction was a result of an incident that occurred on August 12, 2011. The defendant entered a residence in Wakpala, South Dakota, and went into the victim’s bedroom. The victim was asleep on her bed. The defendant then sexually assaulted her.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Standing Rock Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mikal Hanson.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for April 16, 2012. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.