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Former Lame Deer Pastor Sentenced For Abusing Girls

A former pastor in Lame Deer was sentenced Wednesday, April 10, to 30 years in prison after he was convicted in December of sexually abusing three young girls whom he was either fostering or letting stay at his home over the course of four years.

In addition to the 30-year sentence, Dean Alan Smith, 67, will face a lifetime of supervised release should he be let out of prison, according to U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Jesse Laslovich.

“Pastor Smith’s prison sentence, while significant, does not come close to the lifetime of trauma his victims will have to endure,” Laslovich said in a statement. “But I hope knowing that Smith will likely spend the rest of his life in federal prison gives them some peace of mind that he won’t be able to abuse others.”

In December, a federal jury convicted Smith of one count of aggravated sexual abuse; one count of abusive sexual contact by force; and two counts of abusive sexual contact by force and of a child. It acquitted him of one count of abusive sexual contact of a child.

Smith was indicted in December 2022 on the five counts alleging he abused four girls while they were living or staying at his house, which Smith shared with his wife, between 2017 and 2020.

All four girls were under the age of 12 at the time, and they disclosed their abuse over 2021 and 2022, according to court documents. Smith and his wife housed several foster children and temporarily hosted other children from the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation at their home.

Smith’s indictment says he abused each girl separately and in private several times. The girls testified against him at his trial, and some of them, or their guardians, wrote statements ahead of his sentencing detailing how the abuse had affected their lives and relationships with religion.

“What pastor Dean has done affected me and my family in many ways after leaving his household, I had a resentment towards pastors in general, and for a while, it affected my belie[fs] in my religion,” one of the girls wrote. “I felt as if I couldn’t trust any man that tried to even get close to me.”

The government asked the judge in the case to impose the 30-year prison sentenced with supervised release to follow because of the seriousness of the crimes and the lasting effect they will have on the victims, which the judge granted.

“The underlying component that makes this case so troubling is that all these girls, like so many others, believed in Smith. They believed that the safety and security he displayed in public would translate to how they were treated in private. They were wrong,” government attorneys wrote in Smith’s sentencing memo.

Laslovich said in a statement the bravery of the girls to come forward and to testify was paramount to the case.

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