Arlen Flores, of Cherokee, pleaded guilty on Feb. 22 in Federal Court in Asheville to one count of Abusive Sexual Contact before the Honorable Carlton Metcalf. The maximum punishment for such an offense is imprisonment for life.
Lead Tribal Prosecutor and Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Eason said, “In this case, the defendant was alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor child. While Flores is not an enrolled member of the Eastern Band, the victim is enrolled. This conviction was only possible thanks to the coordination and cooperation from several key agencies, including the FBI, the CIPD, and the Family Safety Program. Each of these entities demonstrated great diligence and dedication in their quest to obtain justice on behalf of the victim and the Tribe as a whole.”
He added, “The Federal Courts provide an unparalleled forum for the administration of justice, and it is the obligation of the Prosecutor’s Office to combat such offenses with every tool available to us in order to protect the Tribe and its members. The thorough investigation by both Family Safety and law enforcement provided everything necessary to secure justice for our victim and our Tribe.”
Assistant United States Attorney John Pritchard handled the case. Sentencing for the defendant shall be set at a date to be determined.
– Office of the EBCI Tribal Prosecutor release