The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado said Walton faces two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and one count of sexual abuse of a minor, both in Indian Country. The alleged conduct occurred between 2009 and 2011 and came to light after an FBI investigation, the office said in a news release Friday.
The Attorney’s Office declined further comment because of the pending prosecution, said spokesman Jeff Dorschner.
The case documents were sealed in the Department of Justice database Friday. Walton also did not respond to a request for comment.
As executive officer, Walton, 51, of Ignacio managed all tribal government departments, the administration’s daily business and the tribe’s budget. While his social media account indicates he still works for the tribe, the Southern Ute government website shows the tribe has a new executive officer.
Walton also has been mentioned several times in The Southern Ute Drum’s online archives. Most recently, he was shown at a Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy fundraiser in May 2019 and at meetings for the creation of a skate park on the reservation in 2018.
In 2011, Walton was the games coordinator for the tribe. In 2011 and 2012, he helped take registration for adult sports leagues through the SunUte Community Center. He was also the primary contact for students, ages 13 to 19, who were interested in joining the Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council, according to the Drum.
In 2006, he was the chief professional officer with the Boys and Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
Walton appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Candelaria for the first time Friday via video from the La Plata County Jail.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, the release said.
If convicted on the counts alleged in the indictment, Walton faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years imprisonment, the release said.
The charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty.