A Browning man accused of giving meth to a 12-year-old girl with whom he was in a relationship pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Bengamin Ray Yellowowl, 25, pleaded not guilty to felony child endangerment, unlawful transactions with children, a misdemeanor, and sexual abuse of children, a felony. If convicted, he potentially faces more than 110 years imprisonment and a maximum $60,500 in fines. He is currently being held on $200,000 bond.
Yellowowl was arrested after a Jan. 11 traffic stop in which an officer found the victim driving Yellowowl around in his car at about 2:30 a.m., according to court documents. Documents state that the girl was fidgeting so badly that officers immediately suspected stimulant use. Yellowowl told officers he had taken several shots that night and that he and the victim were not dating.
An ambulance crew took the victim to the hospital, where she eventually admitted to using meth and drinking alcohol with Yellowowl, according to charging documents.
The third charge, sexual abuse with children, was later added after Yellowowl allegedly told officers he and the victim were dating for about a month, and that they had been having sex since October. Documents state Yellowowl said he was against the relationship at first because of her age, but proceeded into a sexual relationship.
Yellowowl reportedly agreed to speak with police the morning of Jan. 11 without a lawyer present.
“People see me and think I am an evil person,” he reportedly told police.
After their initial interview with Yellowowl, police reported receiving a photo from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, allegedly depicting Yellowowl injecting the victim with methamphetamine. Detectives also believe the girl was being used to traffic drugs.
Yellowowl said nothing in court on Thursday aside from the words “not guilty” and a simple “yes” or “no” to District Judge Elizabeth Beth’s questions inferring if he understood the charges.
Yellowowl’s next hearing has been set for March 8. A trial date has been set for May 22.