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Tribal judge fired after child’s death files lawsuit

July 9, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A former Oglala Sioux Tribal Court judge is suing tribal leaders for her termination over the custody case of a toddler who was killed by his mother two months after being returned to her care.

The tribal council fired Chief Judge Kimberly Craven and two other judges in 2016 following complaints about their handling of Kylen Shangreaux’s custody case. The 2-year-old boy was beaten to death two years ago by his mother, Katrina Shangreaux, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March . She awaits sentencing.

Craven filed a lawsuit in Oglala Sioux Tribal Court in May, alleging she was illegally terminated, the Rapid City Journal reported. Craven seeks $500,000 in damages or to be reinstated and paid for lost wages, benefits and attorney fees.

Tribal leaders asked the court last week to dismiss her case. The defendants allege that Craven had waived her right to sue the tribe and its officials under settlement agreements signed last year.

Craven also requested that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Katrina Shangreaux, consider charges against two tribal employees in relation to Kylen’s death. Craven said in a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office that a Child Protective Services worker didn’t investigate conditions at Shangreaux’s home. Craven also alleges that the same worker was Shangreaux’s friend but didn’t recuse herself from the case.

The office declined to comment on the letter, which was sent days after Craven filed the lawsuit.

“I want the blame and potential criminal liability to be placed where it rightfully belongs,” Craven said. “I am tired of being called a baby murderer in the press and on Facebook.”

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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