WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual crimes against children.
Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal case against Jimcy McGirt, whose previous state conviction on sex charges was appealed to and overturned by the United States Supreme Court because the Oklahoma government had no jurisdiction to try McGirt, who is Native American, for the crime. The landmark decision recognized that tribes and the U.S. government have sole jurisdiction over Native Americans involved in crimes inside the borders of reservations.
The crime McGirt stands accused of occurred in 1996, over a weeklong period, where McGirt is accused of sexually abusing a four-year-old who was under the care of his then-wife. The girl told a relative that she had a secret that the relative had to promise not to tell. She told the relative that McGirt had put his finger “in her private”, referring to her vagina, and also that McGird told her to touch his “private”, referring to his penis, and that she did not like touching it because it was “yucky”, had hair and was “up”. She also told the relative that McGirt had put his tongue on her vagina.
The relative reported what she was told to the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office. The girl told the deputy interviewing her that McGirt had “touched her down there” while motioning toward her vagina. The deputy asked how many times he had done it, and she replied “every day.”
The girl had in the intervening time told two other relatives about the alleged abuse.
McGirt had formerly been convicted of two separate counts of forcible sodomy in 1989 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in March of 1991. In that case, McGirt, who was working as a maintenance man, was convicted of making a five-year-old and eight-year-old boy pull their pants down and put their penises in his mouth.
In the 1996 case, McGirt was arrested and tried for first-degree rape by instrumentation, lewd molestation and forcible sodomy, after which he was found guilty on all three counts. The jury recommended he serve 500 years on each of the first two counts, and life in prison without the possibility of parole on the third count. The judge in the case agreed and sentenced McGirt to two 500-year sentences and one life without the possibility of parole.
On appeal, the Oklahoma Supreme Court noted that, while the sentences were “admittedly harsh,” it found no reason to overturn them.
Writing to his wife from prison, McGirt apologized for molesting the girl and said he had not been in his right mind, and that the devil had made him do it, according to an affidavit filed with the new federal case.
The US Supreme court overturned McGirt’s conviction based not on the merits of the case, but on whether the state had jurisdiction to try the case.