SALT LAKE CITY — A former Ute Tribe leader was found guilty in federal court Thursday of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Richard Jenks Jr., 57, was convicted after the jury in his case deliberated about 3 ½ hours.
Jenks, of Fort Duchesne, will be sentenced March 12 before U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups. His conviction for the aggravated abuse charge carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 years. He may face up to 10 additional years in prison for each of the other counts.
Jenks previously served multiple terms on the Ute Tribe Business Committee, a six-member group that oversees the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation in eastern Utah. He represented the tribe's Uncompahgre Band and last served on the committee in 2013.
Jenks was charged in February with sexually abusing the same girl from the time she was 10 years old until she was 16. The abuse occurred from 2009 to 2014.
Jenks was prosecuted in federal court because federal prosecutors have jurisdiction over child sex abuse cases "originating from our tribal lands," U.S. Attorney John Huber said Thursday.
One count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child was dismissed during Jenks' trial.
Jenks is currently being held in the Weber County Jail while he awaits sentencing.
— Ben Lockhart
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