Kinnear woman sentenced for false statement of sexual assault charge

United States Attorney Bob Murray announced Benita Smith, 56, of Kinnear, was sentenced for making a false statement relating to a sexual assault investigation before United States District Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

Smith was sentenced to time-served with two years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment fee.

On October 26, 2020, law enforcement responded to a call for service on the Wind River Reservation. At the scene, officers learned that Benita Smith had an active arrest warrant.

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Smith was arrested and transported to the Wind River Detention Center. After arriving at the facility, Smith falsely claimed she was sexually assaulted by the arresting officer during transport to the facility.

Dash camera footage from inside the patrol car refuted Smith’s claims, and she retracted her allegation after a formal investigation was launched.  

“Actual victims of sexual assault never really stop suffering. They suffer physical pain during and after the assault. They must become stronger every day because they suffer emotionally every day. And when they bravely stand up and speak the truth, they still face devastating attacks on their credibility,” said United States Attorney Bob Murray.

“A false accusation of sexual abuse is a despicable criminal act. It is a silent thief that steals so much from actual victims. This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to work hard and do our part to ensure these crimes are punished.”

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This crime was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Elmore prosecuted the case.  

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