This morning, U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Benjamin Leonard, age 57, of Pine Ridge, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on December 21, 2012, and pled guilty to sexual abuse of a minor. The Magistrate Judge is expected to recommend Leonard’s plea be accepted by the District Court. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 15 years’ imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.
Between June and August 2010, near Pine Ridge, Leonard engaged in a sexual act with a child under the age of 16. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah B. Collins.
A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for April 2, 2013. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending acceptance of this plea and sentencing.
In a second case, Johnson also announced that a Mission, South Dakota man convicted of aggravated sexual abuse was sentenced on January 8, 2013, by United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange. Justin Beardt, age 30, was sentenced to 11 years in custody, five years’ supervised release, $320 in restitution, and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.
The conviction stems from an incident that took place on January 23, 2011, when Beardt sexually abused the victim by force.
Beardt was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service.