Reservation Man Charged With Hurling Screwdriver At Child, Tormenting Another

Federal authorities on Thursday charged Denver Lee John Sr. with two counts of child abuse for allegedly hurling a screwdriver at a child and mentally abusing another child to the point of hurting that child's ability to function. 

Clair McFarland

June 02, 20232 min read

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Federal prosecutors provided sparse details Thursday when charging a Wind River Indian Reservation man with abuse for allegedly hurling a screwdriver at a child.   

Denver Lee John Sr. faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on one count of physical child abuse and another of mental child abuse, both filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.  

The charges allege that John mentally harmed a minor victim for whom he was responsible, and that the child’s condition is evidence of the abuse.  

“(He) injured (the victim’s) psychological capacity and emotional stability as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in (the victim’s) ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior,” the document says.  

It alleges that John physically abused the victim’s family members in front of him or her, pressured the victim to drink alcohol. He also is accused of threatening to send the victim away from the family.  

That charge dates to a three-year span from 2012-2015.  

A second count accuses John of throwing a screwdriver at a different victim, whom he allegedly abused from 2017-2021.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry Jacobson used a provision of federal law applying state law to defendants in Indian Country to charge John.  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter