St. Francis Man Charged with Abusive Sexual Contact
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 18, 2013|
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Vernon Verdell Blackhorse, age 63, of St. Francis, South Dakota, appeared before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on November 6, 2013, and pled guilty to abusive sexual contact.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is six years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
The conviction stems from an incident that took place in Eagle Butte between May 1, 2002 and August 30, 2002, when Blackhorse was laying on a couch behind the victim, who was age 11 or 12 at the time. The victim woke up when she felt Blackhorse touching her over the clothing in a sexual manner. The victim jumped off the couch and was able to end the sexual contact.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie H. Ruettgers.
A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for January 27, 2014. Blackhorse was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.