Oglala Sioux president suspended on improper contact charge

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has been suspended and will face an impeachment hearing after he was accused of inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old boy.

The tribal council voted last week to suspend Julian Bear Runner, the president of the tribe located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, after receiving a complaint from the boy’s father, the Rapid City Journal reported. A tribal judge will oversee an impeachment hearing on Sept. 14.

The father accused Bear Runner of grooming his son, who was 17 at the time, for inappropriate sexual touching in a motel room once he turned 18. According to the accusation, Bear Runner, who is in his 30s, contacted the boy on social media and once rubbed his thigh.

Bear Runner did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegation.

The tribal president has also served a 30-day paid suspension enacted by the tribal council because they could not reach him after he enacted a 72-hour coronavirus lockdown. He also pleaded not guilty after he was arrested in May for driving while drunk and threatening a man.

The attorney general for the Oglala Sioux Tribe did not immediately respond to a request on the status of charges related to the arrest.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe president can be impeached for committing crimes, gross incompetency, corruption or malfeasance. Two-thirds of the tribal council must vote for his removal.

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