Five indicted on child abuse, neglect on Red Lake Reservation

Five members of the Red Lake Band were indicted for multiple child abuse charges including torture and neglect on the reservation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 49-year-old Trina Johnson is accused of directing the neglect and abuse of a foster child placed in her custody.

Four others are accused of aiding and abetting Johnson: 42-year-old Bertram Lussier, Jr., and Johnson’s three sisters, 44-year-old Bobbi Johnson, 47-year-old Ellie Johnson, and 39-year-old Patricia Johnson.

These four others regularly assumed responsibility for all or a portion of the care of the minor child.

The abuse included withholding food to the point of starvation, forcing the victim to stand in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, and various assaults.

The release states the victim suffered great mental, emotional and physical trauma from the abuse.

All but Ellie Johnson made initial court appearances Friday, with the last to be seen at a later date.

The FBI and Red Lake Tribal Police Department investigated the case, with support from the BCA, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and the Bemidji and Blackduck Police Departments.

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