- By Levi Rickert
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.
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 ThisNative News Weekly (February 5, 2023): D.C. Briefs
Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier Set for Monday, Feb. 6th
Sen. Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee) Appointed to Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
American Indian Man Dies in Pennington County Jail
Interior Secretary Haaland to Travel to Australia, Highlight International Climate Partnerships
12 years of Native News
This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
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. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.