A Montana man who raped a 4-year-old girl was sentenced on July 26 to 42 years in prison.
John William Lieba II was convicted of chasing down the young girl on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, assaulting her and leaving her for dead in February 2016, reports the Daily Mail.
A sheriff's deputy found the cold and dehydrated toddler two days after the attack, lying on a makeshift bed in the cab of an old pickup truck behind a fertilizer plant.
The victim is identified as a resident of the Fort Peck Reservation, according to KRTV. Lieba is reportedly from Wolf Point, which is part of the reservation.
The reservation is located in the extreme northeast corner of Montana, and "is home to two separate Indian nations, each composed of numerous bands and divisions," according to the tribal website. "The Sioux divisions of Sisseton/Wahpetons, the Yanktonais, and the Teton Hunkpapa are all represented. The Assiniboine bands of Canoe Paddler and Red Bottom are represented."
A U.S. District Court jury in Great Falls convicted Lieba on counts of kidnapping a minor, aggravated sexual abuse and assault resulting in serious bodily injury on a minor.
The girl had bruises and burst blood vessels on her head and neck, indicating that Lieba had attempted to strangle her, according to law enforcement officers and doctors who examined her.
As a result of the sexual assault, Dr. Cynthia Burrows of the Billings Clinic testified that the girl was infected with an incurable sexually transmitted disease.
A 12-year-old neighbor of the victim testified that she also had been chased by Lieba at a playground in Wolf Point on the night the toddler went missing, but she managed to escape.
"The child will forever be reminded of this trauma," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon wrote in a sentencing memo to U.S. District Judge Brian Morris. "The United States without hesitation recommends life in prison. Lieba, through his actions, forced every parent in Montana to confront their worst nightmare."
Judge Brian Morris sentenced Lieba to 500 months in prison on each count, to be served concurrently.
Lieba's attorneys said he had stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication prior to the assault, and that the "most effective protection for the public will be for Mr. Lieba to address his substance abuse and mental health issues."
Tribal officials blamed the crime on the rising use of methamphetamine on the reservation. Native Americans have a higher meth-addiction rate than the rest of the U.S. population, reports Voice of America.