The wife of Robert Fool Bear, the former Cannon Ball district chairman convicted of child sexual abuse last month, faces criminal charges tied to his case.
Rhonda Krein Fool Bear has been charged with failing to report child sexual abuse and making false statements in court. If convicted, she could face up to 5.5 years in prison.
An indictment filed on May 10 accuses Krein Fool Bear, a teacher at Solen High School and thereby a mandatory reporter, of failing to call police or child protective services, once the victim told her about the abuse in November 2015. Instead, Krein Fool Bear told a friend at school, who is also a mandatory reporter, and may have made the call to Standing Rock High School that started the investigation into Robert Fool Bear.
"I didn't know what to do, because I couldn't believe it," Krein Fool Bear said at trial. She also testified she had thought the abuse already had been reported.
The indictment also accuses Krein Fool Bear of lying on the stand, where she testified under a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office. It's not clear about what lies Krein Fool Bear allegedly told. But at trial, she and the prosecutor went back and forth over an FBI agent's report. She denied some of the claims he said she'd made in an interview.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme and Krein Fool Bear's attorney, Jackie Stebbins, did not respond to requests for comment on this case.
The charges come after U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland concluded Fool Bear's jury trial with a request to the U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI to investigate potential charges against anyone who knew of and did not report the abuse.
Due to the charges, Krein Fool Bear has been suspended without pay from her role as a special education teacher at Solen High School, according to Solen Public Schools Superintendent Justin Fryer. The school board has started proceedings to remove her from the job, and she has been given the opportunity to resign. The school is waiting on a response from her, Fryer said.
Krein Fool Bear turned herself into authorities on Friday and made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Miller Jr. She did not enter a plea and was released on a personal recognizance bond, according to court records.
Krein Fool Bear will appear again at the federal courthouse in Bismarck for an arraignment on May 31.
Robert Fool Bear was convicted on four felony counts, including child sexual abuse and incest in April. He will be sentenced on Aug. 23 at the federal courthouse in Bismarck. The prosecution alleged Fool Bear repeatedly raped the girl over a period of at least four years, beginning when she was 10 years old.