- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A man has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of kidnapping and raping a 4-year-old girl who was taken from a park on a Montana Indian reservation earlier this year.

John William Lieba II entered his plea Thursday during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston.

A grand jury Tuesday indicted the 21-year-old Lieba on charges of kidnapping someone under 18, aggravated sexual abuse and assault resulting in serious bodily injury on someone under 18. The charges carry a combined maximum penalty of life in prison and $750,000 in fines if he is convicted.

The indictment says Lieba abducted the girl in Wolf Point on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and held her for ransom in February. It says he engaged in a sexual act with the girl and assaulted her.

Lieba also faces charges of kidnapping, attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault of a minor in Fort Peck Tribal Court. The complaint filed in that court says Lieba raped and attempted to strangle the girl.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Melissa Hornbein said the federal court has assumed jurisdiction, and the tribal proceedings have been stayed pending the outcome of the federal case.

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