Pine Ridge Man Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Minor

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Pine Ridge, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Sexual Abuse of a Minor and Abusive Sexual Contact.

Howard Blue Bird, age 44, was indicted on November 18, 2021.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on March 2, 2022, and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 15 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, up to life of supervised release, and a $200 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges relate to Blue Bird knowingly engaging in a sexual act with a minor in 2018 near Porcupine, South Dakota.

The charges are merely accusations and Blue Bird is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Sazama is prosecuting the case.

Blue Bird was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.  A trial date has been set for May 10, 2022.