UW Attorney tries for better prosecution and reporting on the Wind River Reservation

Sep 12, 2011

WIND RIVER, WY (wpr) - The U.S. Attorney's office held its annual conference last week in Riverton. This year's theme was "Empowering Native American Women."
U.S. Attorney for Wyoming, Kip Crofts, says the conference responds to publicity about inadequate investigation and prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence cases on Indian reservations. He's referring to a report by the Government Office of Accountability, compiled between 2005 and 2009, where 67-percent of sexual abuse offenses were declined by federal prosecutors.
Crofts says public attention to these types of statistics prompted his office to reach out to the Wind River Reservation to hear about unmet needs, give information on the prevention of sexual assault, and how prosecution would happen were a crime to be reported. "So I'm hopeful, number one, that the information we gave might prevent some of these crimes in the future, but to the extent that they're not prevented we also, secondarily, hope that the reporting is better and prompter because of DNA evidence and things like that, obviously a prompt report is important too. So I don't know, we'll have to wait and see whether we get significant increase in reported crimes or not, it's too early to tell."
Crofts adds that his office could not break down their declination statistics into what was kicked back to tribal court and was actually declined and no statistics are available for how sexual assault numbers on the Wind River Reservation compare to the rest of the state. © Copyright 2011, wpr