A Blackfeet Tribal Business Council member has been removed from office after police found that she was harboring an accused child molester last month.
On Nov. 19, the tribal council voted 7-2 to remove Councilwoman Cheryl Little Dog for violating her oath of office and partaking in “misconduct reflecting on the dignity of the Tribe or the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.”
In a press release, Chairman Harry Barnes said the decision to expel Little Dog came following the arrest of a South Dakota man at her home in East Glacier Park last month.
According to court documents, Frank Gallardo, 38, was wanted for allegedly molesting an 8-year-old girl in March. Federal agents tracked Gallardo to Little Dog’s home in East Glacier Park and he was arrested on Oct. 16. Gallardo has since been extradited to South Dakota where he faces a federal charge of abusive sexual contact of a minor.
Little Dog allegedly interfered with officers during the arrest and she has been charged with obstructing justice and threatening a public official in Blackfeet Tribal Court. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges and is expected to go to trial in March.
On Thursday, Barnes told the Beacon that the council had not yet decided if it would appoint someone to fill Little Dog’s seat. Little Dog represents the Old Agency District, which includes East Glacier Park and the surrounding area.
“The entire council regrets having to take this action, but to take no action would be irresponsible,” Barnes said. “As elected leaders we are held to a higher standard and as such fall under much more scrutiny. We are responsible to the Tribal members for our actions.”
Barnes said that many in the public demanded “quicker and more decisive” action, but noted that the Council needed to gather all of the facts and follow the letter of the law.
The Beacon reached out to Little Dog but she declined to comment, instead directing interview requests to her attorney, Roberta Cross Guns. Cross Guns said that she appreciated the fact that the council took its time in gathering information but in the end she believes it made the wrong choice in expelling Little Dog.
“They made a mistake here,” Cross Guns said. “We are processing what has happened and are looking at what our next steps are.”
Cross Guns said Little Dog plans on running for tribal council next year.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.