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US Supreme Court rejects appeal from convicted Montana child rapist

John Lieba, the Fort Peck man who was convicted for kidnapping and raping a Poplar girl.
John Lieba, the Fort Peck man who was convicted for kidnapping and raping a Poplar girl.

The U.S. Supreme court has denied an appeal for John Lieba, the Fort Peck man who was convicted for kidnapping and raping a Poplar girl.

The court denied the petition to review the conviction of Lieba, who was sentenced last year to 42 years in prison for kidnapping, rape, and assault.

An Amber Alert was issued in February of 2016 after the girl was reported missing from a park in Wolf Point. According to court documents, Lieba had been stalking a pair of young girls at the park before he kidnapped the victim.

“Lieba was dedicated to kidnapping and raping a girl on February 26, 2017,” said prosecutors in their sentencing memorandum. “He first tried for an eleven-year-old girl, but she was too fast.”

Lieba managed to kidnap the victim and took her to a remote location where he raped and assaulted her, according to court documents.

In his appeal, Lieba challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions.

The court made its ruling on Monday with no explanation about why they decided to decline the appeal.




(JULY 26, 2017) John Lieba, convicted of kidnapping a 4-year-old Poplar girl from a park and raping her before leaving her for dead, was sentenced in Great Falls on Wednesday to federal prison.

Lieba, 21 years old, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to 500 months in prison for kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, and assault. The total sentence is about 42 years.

Prosecutors had requested a life sentence, writing in their sentencing memorandum that anything less than a life sentence for Lieba was a life sentence for the victim, who contracted an STD from Lieba.

“Lieba, through his actions, forced every parent in Montana to confront their worst nightmare,” said prosecutors, who added that if Lieba does not deserve a life sentence, no defendant does.

Lieba’s defense attorney requested a sentence of 30 years in prison, arguing that Lieba is in need of mental health treatment.

Lieba was found guilty at his April trial.

An Amber Alert was issued in February of 2016 after the girl was reported missing from a park in Wolf Point.

According to court documents, Lieba had been stalking a pair of young girls at the park before he kidnapped the victim.

“Lieba was dedicated to kidnapping and raping a girl on February 26, 2017,” said prosecutors in their sentencing memorandum. “He first tried for an eleven-year-old girl, but she was too fast.”

Lieba managed to kidnap the victim and took her to a remote location where he raped her and physically assaulted her, according to court documents.

Prosecutors noted in court documents that Lieba obstructed justice when he lied to investigators about kidnapping the victim and impeded search efforts.

“Time was of the essence because a four-year-old girl was missing and uncared for in a remote area of eastern Montana, all of which occurred in the dead of winter and during frozen temperatures,” said prosecutors.

Lieba later told investigators that he did not remember anything because he had started drinking.

Prosecutors noted that when he was further questioned about the victim, he chose to focus on his lost sexual opportunities with other females instead.

The girl was finally located in a remote area on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and taken to the hospital for treatment.

Hospital staff determined the girl had been strangled, raped, and sodomized, according to court documents.

In requesting a life sentence on Wednesday, prosecutors said the victim deserves the peace of mind.

“She has suffered enough,” said prosecutors. “She deserves to know that Lieba will never touch her again.”

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the truth in sentencing guidelines mandate that Lieba will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court.  In the federal system, Lieba does have the opportunity to shorten the term of custody by earning credit for good behavior.  However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The Lieba case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, and multiple other federal, state, and local agencies.

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