A Quapaw man has been indicted for sexually abusing a minor and illegally possessing feathers, talons and heads from seven bald eagles and seven golden eagles, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
Carl Gene Ortner, 56, is charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country, abusive sexual contact in Indian Country, possession of parts of a bald eagle, and possession of parts of a golden eagle.
“The United States has charged Carl Ortner with crimes related to the sexual abuse of a child and the unlawful possession of bald and golden eagle feathers and parts. The underlying circumstances of this case involve the alleged use of Native American cultural heritage to exploit and groom the child victim,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Protecting children is a top priority for my office, and I’m thankful for our law enforcement partners who have teamed up to investigate this case.”
At a detention hearing held Friday, the United States alleged that Ortner fraudulently claimed to be a Native American spiritual counselor and healer and would give the feathers of bald and golden eagles to the minor victim and the victim’s family in order to gain their trust. At Ortner’s residence, officers allegedly found various parts of bald and golden eagles as well as a whole eagle carcass. Native Americans consider eagles to be sacred and only use the parts to make regalia or for use in cultural and religious practices. Evidence was presented that the defendant allegedly used his position of influence to groom the victim and force her into sexual relations with him, using her cultural beliefs and vulnerability against her. Ortner is not an enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vehemently condemns sexual violence of any nature,” said Edward Grace, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “In this case, the defendant allegedly used eagles – our national symbol and a culturally sacred species – to prey upon a child who trusted him. These alleged acts go against everything our country stands for and will not be tolerated. We would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance with this case. Together, we can bring wildlife criminals and sexual predators to justice.”
“As alleged in this case, those who seek to prey on children will stop at nothing to lull their victims into a false sense of trust and security, but I’m grateful to the team of agents and analysts who stop at nothing to protect our children,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Melissa Godbold. “This case represents the teamwork that the public has come to expect from law enforcement. I’m grateful that, after investigating the theft of these natural resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached out to the FBI when they discovered the abuse allegations.”
During today’s detention hearing, prosecutors alleged there may be additional victims. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225—5324).
U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank H. McCarthy set the detention hearing to continue Nov. 12 at 2pm.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Roberts and Shannon Cozzoni are prosecuting the case.