OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Jimcy McGirt, the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case that significantly impacted Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, has been found guilty of three counts of sexually assaulting a child.
A federal jury found McGirt, 71, guilty on Friday of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country and one count of abusive sexual contact in Indian Country, according to a news release issued by U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester.
Each count that McGirt was found guilty on is punishable by not less than 30 years and not more than life imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000 or both.
The trial began on Wednesday in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. The prosecution proved that McGirt sexually abused a four-year-old girl in 1996
“Today’s verdict is a result of a courageous victim who for the sake of justice was willing to once again relive the horrific acts the defendant perpetrated against her over 24 years ago. Her strength is a powerful testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit, and a great example for us all,” Kuester said. “Prosecuting decades old cases are difficult at best, but the prosecution team along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation demonstrated tenacity and commitment to the federal government’s trust responsibility in Indian Country in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.”
McGirt was previously convicted in 1997 for the rape and sexual abuse of the four year old. He was sentenced to serve two 500-year sentences.
The 1997 conviction ultimately led to a July 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa, the second-largest city in the state.
The high court decided that the Muscogee (Creek) reservation was never disestablished. The ruling has an enormous impact on the state’s criminal justice system.
“For anybody that has an Indian card, a CDIB card, a certified degree of Indian blood,” Native American law attorney Robert Gifford told KFOR. “If they are within the Creek Nation, the state of Oklahoma had no jurisdiction over them.”
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against McGirt in U.S. District Court on Aug. 18, based on the same evidence that led to his 1997 conviction.
“While the McGirt decision was a precedent setting case in regards to the FBI’s work in Indian Country, today’s verdict shows that the FBI’s commitment to seeking justice for the victims will never change, no matter the court, no matter the venue,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Melissa Godbold. “I am grateful to the team for their work to bring this more than two-decades old case to trial, and we thank the Jury for their hard work that led to today’s conviction.”