Jan 30, 2023 | By: Justin Othoudt

Five Indicted for Child Abuse on Red Lake Reservation

Five members from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians have been indicted for several counts of child abuse, including child neglect, child endangerment, and child torture.

According to court documents, between the dates of January 1, 2021, and April 29, 2022, Trina Mae Johnson, 49, directed the torture, endangerment, neglect and abuse of a child in her legal custody. Johnson was aided and abetted by Bertram Calvin Lussier Jr., 42, and Johnson’s three sisters, Bobbi Jo Johnson, 44, Ellie Mae Johnson, 47, and Patricia Ann Johnson, 39, all of whom assumed responsibility for all or a portion of the care and supervision of the victim.

Court documents claim the abuse consisted of having the victim stand in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, withholding food from the victim until the point of starvation, and assaulting the victim in various ways. As a result of the abuse, the victim suffered serious and substantial physical, mental and emotional harm.

Johnson is charged with one count of child torture, one count of child neglect, one count of child endangerment, and one count of assault on a minor with a dangerous weapon. Johnson’s associates were each charged with one count of child neglect and one count of child endangerment.

Trina Johnson, Bobbi Johnson, Patricia Johnson and Lussier have all made their initial court appearances on Friday, January 27, with Ellie Johnson set to make her court appearance at a later date.

The investigation was lead by the FBI, and the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, with added support from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, the Bemidji Police Department, and the Blackduck Police Department.

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