Former Southern Ute tribe executive sentenced in 12-year-old’s sex assault

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DURANGO, Colo. (KDVR) — A former executive officer of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe was sentenced Tuesday to prison in the sex assault of a 12-year-old child.

McKean Walton, 52, of Ignacio, sexually assaulted the child, who was in his care, “on multiple occasions” in fall 2010 and summer 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

“Our office will enforce the law against all offenders, no matter what position of authority they hold,” U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan said in a press release. “While justice may have been long in coming in this case, thanks to the courage of the victim and the tenacity of our law enforcement partners, justice has finally arrived.”

Walton stipulated to the facts of the case in his guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He’s been sentenced to 13.5 years in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release and a $5,000 special assessment.

“This sentence rightly holds Mr. Walton accountable for his deplorable conduct in this case,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider of the FBI Denver Division, which investigated the case, said in a press release. “The FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to thoroughly investigative crimes against the most vulnerable members of our community, regardless of how many years have passed since the time of the incident.”

Walton was the executive officer for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, headquartered in Ignacio, until he resigned in September 2020 after his arrest in the case. He pleaded guilty on July 30.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn handed down the sentence and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey K. Graves was the prosecutor.

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