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Red Lake man sentenced under federal domestic assault law

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ST. PAUL – A federal jury convicted a 35-year-old Red Lake this week for assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault.

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A trial for Brian Gordon Graves concluded Thursday in St. Paul. It marked the second time the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota has prosecuted someone under the federal “domestic assault by a habitual offender” law.

According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Graves assaulted the victim, a woman on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, with a 12-gauge shotgun last Oct. 6.

Previously, Graves was convicted in Red Lake Indian Tribal Court for criminal domestic violence in 1997 and first-degree assault in 1998.

The domestic assault by a habitual offender law was enacted in 2006 by Congress as support to the Violence Against Women Act of 2000.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said violence against American Indian women occurs at epidemic rates. In 2005, Congress found that one in three American Indian women is raped during her lifetime, and American Indian women are nearly three times more likely to be battered in during their lives than Caucasian women.

A date to sentence Graves has not been set. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison on the assault with a dangerous weapon count, and a potential maximum penalty of five years on the domestic assault by a habitual offender count.

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