fbpx
 

A man who pretended to be an American Indian “medicine man” so that he could sexually abuse an American Indian minor was sentenced to life in prison.

Described by a federal prosecutor as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” during his trial, Carl Ortner, 57, of Quapaw, Okla. was convicted in May of sexually abusing a Native American female child and of illegally possessing eagle parts.

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III sentenced Ortner to life in federal prison and ordered him to pay a $100,000 fine.

In 2016, Ortner began sexually abusing the minor. While some of the abuse allegedly occurred within the state of Oklahoma jurisdiction, Ortner also abused the victim on Indian land, which falls within federal jurisdiction. Further, at one point, Ortner drove the victim to Joplin, Missouri, to engage in criminal sexual activity with the minor victim. Crossing state lines to engage in illegal activity falls within federal jurisdiction.

Witnesses testified that Ortner threatened to embarrass the victim and the tribe unless she said the sexual assault did not happen. Also testifying for the government were two other women who stated that Ortner also groomed them as minors and sexually abused them.

“The victim in this case and two others bravely came forward and shined a light on Ortner’s criminal behavior,” Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a press release. “Today’s life sentence sends a strong message that the sexual abuse of children will not be tolerated.”

In addition to sexually abusing the American Indian child, Ortner was found guilty of possessing feathers, talons, and heads from seven bald eagles and seven golden eagles.

A special agent with the Fish and Wildlife Service testified that investigators discovered feathers and various parts of bald and golden eagles, including heads, talons, and entire wings, at Ortner’s residence.

Ortner claimed to be a tribal citizen of various tribes, but he does not appear on any tribal enrollment documents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Oklahoma. It is illegal for non-Natives to possess parts of eagles. American Indians, who are citizens of one of the 574 federally recognized tribes are allowed to own parts of eagles.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Roberts and Shannon Cozzoni prosecuted the case.

More Stories Like This

Tribal Business News Round Up: Sept. 26
A Year Later, Myron Dewey’s Family Waits for Justice
Two National Native American Organizations to Address International Trade for Indian Country at World Trade Organization Forum in Geneva
Native News Weekly (September 25, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola Hits the Ground Running: Her First Bill Introduced Clears Committee Two Days Later

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]