Former Women’s Shelter Director Faces Fraud Charges
July 23, 2011
The former executive director of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society pleaded not guilty this week to charges of federal program fraud.
Tillie Black Bear, 64, was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month on charges of program fraud and aiding and abetting, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno on Tuesday. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Black Bear is a nationally acclaimed pioneer in the campaign against domestic violence, winning the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Visionary Voice Award in 2009. She is a founding member of the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Black Bear resigned as executive director of White Buffalo Calf Woman Society last August, citing poor health. The society runs a women’s shelter in Mission on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation that serves more than 300 women and more than 600 children annually and is considered the oldest shelter for battered and abused women on a reservation in the U.S.
In July 2010, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe temporarily froze funding to the women’s shelter amid allegations of client abuse, building deficiencies and funding problems. The tribe is the pass-through agency for several grants the shelter receives.