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Red Lake man pleads guilty to assaulting woman

A 31-year-old Red Lake man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to assaulting a woman last November on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Appearing before United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank in St. Paul, Christopher Michael Strong pled guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Strong was indicted Dec. 16.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in the case, the Red Lake tribal police were called to a residence at 11 p.m. Nov. 11 in response to a complaint that a woman had been beaten. Upon their arrival, officers were led to a back bedroom, where they found a woman lying on a bed, next to Strong. The woman's eyes were swollen shut. She had a laceration on her right jaw, a broken nose, and bruises on her arms, legs, shoulders, and face. In addition, she had a bite mark on the left side of her back. She told officers Strong had punched and kicked her repeatedly over several days. She also reported he had smashed her face against a wooden stand. The woman was transported to the Red Lake Indian Health Service Hospital, referred to North Country Regional Hospital in Bemidji, and ultimately sent to Saint Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd for needed treatment.

In his plea agreement, Strong admitted that on Nov 11, he beat and bit the woman, causing injuries to her head, neck, thorax, legs, shoulders, and arms. He also admitted the assault resulted in the woman experiencing extreme physical pain.

For his crime, Strong faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Judge Frank will determine his sentence at a future date, yet to be scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.

The federal government has primary law enforcement jurisdiction over the Red Lake Indian Reservation.