Pine Ridge woman gets $650K settlement for assault
The federal government has agreed to pay $650,000 to a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota who was sexually assaulted by a military recruiter who came to the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Lavetta Elk was 19 at the time of the 2003 incident. She wanted to join the U.S. Army when Sgt. Joseph Kopf assaulted her.

In April 2009, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that the federal government failed to protect Elk. The decision was based on the "bad men" provision of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

"If bad men among the whites. . . shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will...reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained," the treaty states.

The case was due to be heard by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals before the government settled.

Get the Story:
Lawsuit based on 1868 treaty settled (AP 1/7)
Landmark Lawsuit Against United States for Sexual Assault of Native American Teen Settled (PRNewswire 1/7)

Court Decision:
Lavetta Elk v. US (April 28, 2009)

Related Stories:
Pine Ridge woman wins lawsuit based on 1868 treaty (4/30)
Judge dismisses $25B BIA boarding school suit (11/8)