Poplar woman admits assault, child abuse crimes

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

GREAT FALLS — A Poplar woman suspected of assaulting a toddler on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation admitted to charges this week, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said today.

Shelby Loves Him, 23, pleaded guilty on May 16 to an indictment charging her with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and felony child abuse. Loves Him faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Aug. 24. Loves Him was detained pending further proceedings.

Court documents filed by the government alleged that Loves Him had been caring for the victim, a toddler, identified as John Doe, since approximately August 2021 when on Dec. 8, 2021, law enforcement officers were contacted about John Doe being unresponsive at the Poplar Community Hospital. The officers observed bruising and scratches on John Doe’s head, arms and legs. When questioned about events leading to John Doe arriving at the hospital, Loves Him told officers that she had struck John Doe multiple times in the week leading up to an incident on Dec. 8, 2021, when she assaulted and choked the victim until he lost consciousness. John Doe was flown to Salt Lake City, Utah, for emergency life-saving surgery and care. John Doe continues to suffer significant impairment from the injuries he sustained.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy A. Johnson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Montana Highway Patrol and Fort Peck Tribes Police Department.