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Federal Jury Finds Red Lake Woman Guilty of Child Neglect Following the Death of a Child on the Red Lake Reservation

DULUTH, Minn. – A federal jury found a Red Lake woman guilty of child neglect following the death of a child in her care, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to evidence presented at trial, Sharon Rosebear, 63, intentionally deprived a child, Minor A, of necessary food and health care over the course of 2022. The evidence at trial established that Minor A died in 2022 from the combined effects of starvation and infection. Rosebear and her co-defendant, Julius Fineday Sr., were both federally charged in 2023 following Minor A's death: Rosebear was charged with felony child neglect resulting in substantial harm, and her co-defendant Julius Fineday Sr. was charged with second degree manslaughter.

The evidence at trial established that Rosebear acted as one of Minor A's caretakers in 2022. In accordance with Minnesota law, the jury was instructed that Rosebear's lack of formal legal custody of Minor A did not alter her responsibility to the child. The evidence at trial established that Rosebear was reasonably able to provide for Minor A's nutrition and healthcare-including evidence establishing that healthcare and transportation to healthcare is free within the Red Lake Nation, and that all of the adults and children involved in the case received nutritional and cash assistance adequate to meet their basic needs-and that Rosebear nonetheless intentionally deprived Minor A of those basic needs by withholding food, and by looking the other way while Minor A's health deteriorated. The evidence at trial included evidence that Minor A died at the same weight she had been nearly three years earlier, and that while Rosebear was aware of Minor A's severe lice infestation, Rosebear responded by keeping Minor A isolated rather than seeking medical attention for Minor A.

Medical testimony at trial established that the type of infection Minor A had when she died could have entered Minor A's body through scratches in her scalp related to her unaddressed lice. The medical testimony also established that Minor A's prolonged starvation may have been an independently sufficient cause of death, or may have severely compromised Minor A's immune system's ability to fight infection.

Following a six-day trial in U.S. District Court before Chief Judge Patrick J. Schiltz, Rosebear was found guilty of felony child neglect. Rosebear's co-defendant, Julius Fineday Sr., entered a guilty plea to his charge prior to trial on March 25, 2022. Their sentencing hearings will be scheduled at a later date.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and the Red Lake Tribal Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey E. Middlecamp and Rachel L. Kraker tried the case.

 

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