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Tribal council member faces rape charges

RAPID CITY, S.D. - A tribal council member representing the Medicine Root District on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation appeared Friday at the federal courthouse in Rapid City to face rape charges.

A federal grand jury charged Howard Rooks on March 21 with aggravated sexual abuse and sexual abuse. Rooks allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old girl on Aug. 13, 2023. Both charges carry the potential of a life sentence.

Rooks pleaded not guilty when he appeared in custody before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann. Assistant Federal Public Defender David Barari accompanied him. Barari stood in for Jenn Albertson, the assistant federal public defender appointed to the case.


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