Otchingwanigan gets prison term
CRYSTAL FALLS—A Crystal Falls man who pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from events 14 years ago may spend the remainder of his life in prison.
Earl Ralph Otchingwanigan, 81, was sentenced on Nov. 26 in Iron County Trial Court to 135 months to 30 years in prison for engaging in sexual contact with an 11-year boy who was a member of the same household at the time. He was given credit for 37 days served.
Understandably, the sentencing hearing was an agonizing time for all involved, especially the victim, who was in attendance and read a statement to the court.
“As a child, I was forced to perform sexual acts,” the man said. “I was just a child looking for a father figure. This man manipulated me and my family to believe he was a good man. He’s made this community believe that he is a law-abiding Native activist preserving the rights and culture of my people. Today, I want the court to know this is not true. This is not the culture that I know.