CO: How Did a Local From a Prominent American Indian Tribe Get Stuck in a Sex Offender System That Could Keep Him Behind Bars for Life?

Source: June 2024

Most mornings last year, John Red Cloud would rise before daybreak in his home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in southwest South Dakota. He’d walk to the porch of his house and peer out at the shadows of undulating, grassy hills in the distance. Eventually, dawn would spread across the reservation, illuminating the ancestral land where Red Cloud had been born and raised and now was rebuild­ing his life. On those mornings, Red Cloud stretched his arms skyward and gave thanks to his creator.

After spending nearly 12 years of his life locked up in Colorado prisons and another six months on parole in the Centennial State, he’d finally been allowed to return home. There had been times when he’d questioned whether that would actually be possible. In 2010, at the age of 31, he’d drunkenly sexually assaulted his then common-law wife at a home they’d shared in Boulder County. Months later, Red Cloud was convicted of Class 4 assault and Class 3 sexual assault in the context of domestic violence and was sentenced under a little-known, decades-old Colorado law that imposes potential life sentences on certain sexual offenders. Six parole hearings later, in July 2022, he was released. Six months after that, he was back in Pine Ridge.

After he’d returned to the reservation, Red Cloud had registered as a sex offender and met regularly with his parole officer in Rapid City, an hour’s drive north of his home on Pine Ridge. On the afternoon of October 2, 2023, as part of the conditions of his “lifetime supervision” from Colorado, Red Cloud and Watters went to Rapid City so he could meet with a polygraph examiner. Polygraphs were a mandated part of the interstate compact transfer when Red Cloud moved from Colorado to South Dakota during his parole.

Watters had been waiting in the passenger’s seat of Red Cloud’s SUV for about an hour when she spotted her boyfriend being led out a side door in handcuffs. Watters jumped out of the vehicle. “What’s going on?” she yelled and ran toward Red Cloud.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll figure this out.”

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This article highlights what is wrong with the system, especially in CO, and how it is used against people for the cred of those who are using a discredited system.

Last edited 14 days ago by TS

How can anyone think locking up a person when no crime was committed, not even thought about, is good for society? He did wrong and he paid for that. Let him make amends by being a good person.The people with the mental health problem are those who can do this. Are there not any mental health studies on these people who think this way? There are just way to many stories similar to this.

No one has mentioned that we’re not “indians” ****** we’re Native Americans

Uh, from what I have read, and from what my Navajo friends have told me, the Sweat Lodge can be considered part of the Native American religion! So, he can argue his 1st Amendment rights were violated.

It’s true that the “sex offense system is certainly outdated, not interested in actual justice and rehabilitation.” Time to abolish the registry

Of the many, many things wrong with the system, one of the worst, in my opinion, is the “one size fits all” aspect.

From personal experience, for example, my group “therapist” continually makes the assumption that everyone forced to attend is “exactly the same”…in every regard. So, whenever someone goes “off script”, he will make certain that they get back “on track”, or else they risk being “out of compliance” with his little program, and return to prison.

The system isn’t just “outdated”…it’s an absolute nightmare, and extremely vindictive and destructive to everyone.

Red Cloud says he raised a hypothetical scenario with a treatment provider: If he saw a child alone and drowning, what should he do? According to Red Cloud, the provider told him he should let the child drown.

Two of my treatment providers basically stated the same to me. I responded I would not let a child be kidnapped or die in front of me if I could help it as that goes against my religious beliefs and if they had a problem, a polygraph could be given which would prove I am telling the truth that I had no intentions of sexually assaulting the child but only had an intention of saving that child’s life. I had already passed three polygraphs over my sex history which reflected I was telling the truth when I had never sexually assaulted a child.

Both treatment providers told me I had a bad attitude and both kicked me out of treatment for no valid reason in hopes of revoking my deferred adjudication to put me in prison, admitted to by the court probation officer to my judge and my attorney. The judge cancelled the revocation hearing.