Oglala Sioux leader suspended following improper contact allegation

This October 2018 photo shows Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner when he was running for tribal president. (Ryan Hermans/Rapid City Journal via AP, File)

The Associated Press

President Julian Bear Runner faces an impeachment hearing this month

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has been suspended and will face an impeachment hearing after he was accused of inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old boy.

The tribal council voted last week to suspend Julian Bear Runner, the president of the tribe located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, after receiving a complaint from the boy's father, the Rapid City Journal reported. A tribal judge will oversee an impeachment hearing on Sept. 14.

The father accused Bear Runner of grooming his son, who was 17 at the time, for inappropriate sexual touching in a motel room once he turned 18. According to the accusation, Bear Runner, who is in his 30s, contacted the boy on social media and once rubbed his thigh.

Attempts by Indian Country Today to reach Bear Runner for comment were not immediately successful Tuesday. His voicemail was full, and a number for his spokesman, Chase Iron Eyes, was disconnected. 

A message left with tribal spokeswoman Karin Eagle was not returned.

Robert Ecoffey, chief of the Oglala Sioux police, told the Cheyenne Post he couldn't comment on whether the teen had filed a criminal complaint.

Bear Runner served a 30-day paid suspension approved by the tribal council in July after he enacted a 72-hour coronavirus lockdown and then council members said they could not reach him.

He also pleaded not guilty after he was arrested in May on allegations of driving while drunk and threatening a man. The attorney general for the Oglala Sioux Tribe did not immediately respond to a request on the status of charges related to the arrest.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe president can be impeached for committing crimes, gross incompetency, corruption or malfeasance. Two-thirds of the tribal council must vote for his removal.

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Indian Country Today contributed to this report.

Comments (1)
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Tyson Lebeau
Tyson Lebeau

What they should've mention is that the boy in question sold explicit photos&videos of himself via social media for money, he even sold videos of himself performing sexual acts on older men
Before making these allegations he erased his twitter & other platforms but several people have conversations of this Weston(last name) negotiating prices for his videos and pictures and his cash app payment info I'm in no away defending Julian Bear Runner or his actions but people need to be made aware of the type of person his accuser is