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Montana Pastor Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Minors on Indian Reservation

Served SBC church for 20 years

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Last month, a federal jury convicted a Montana pastor of sexually abusing three children while they were staying at his home on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation welcome sign / Wikipedia

According to the District of Montana, a jury found Dean Alan Smith, 67, guilty of aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact by force, and two counts of abusive sexual contact by force and of a child after a six-day trial that began on December 4.

Smith faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years to a lifetime of supervised release. The jury acquitted Smith of one count of abusive sexual contact with a child.

MinistryWatch reported last year that for over 20 years, Smith was the pastor at Morning Star Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Church in Lame Deer, Montana. The church, which is no longer active, sat adjacent to the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation where Smith allegedly made four children in separate incidents engage in sexual contact by force, according to an indictment filed on December 9, 2022.

Smith pleaded not guilty to the indictment accusing him of abusing the four girls between 2017 and 2019. All of the victims were under the age of 12 at the time, the District said.

Court documents show that during his time on the Reservation, Smith and his wife housed several foster children and temporarily hosted other children from the community. Four girls disclosed being sexually abused by Smith when they were staying or living at Smith’s home.

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In the documents, the government alleges that Smith abused each of them on multiple occasions.

U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich accused Smith of leading a double life: one as a pastor and the other as an abuser of children. “I am thrilled the jury held Smith accountable for sexually abusing these victims and I hope holding him accountable will help the victims start the long road of healing from the trauma they’ve suffered,” he said.

“Today’s verdicts validate our continued unwavering pursuit of those abusers, for which all of us, as well as the victims in this case and their families, are grateful,” he said.

The Northern Cheyenne Council decided to bar Smith from entering the outer bounds of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in January following the filing of accusations against him. The tribe said in a public release that it passed the order to protect the Reservation’s residents.

The court set sentencing for April 10, 2024. Authorities remanded Smith into custody pending further proceedings.

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Jessica Eturralde

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.