Neighbor Speaks Out About Lehman Coyote's Arrest For Child Sex Crimes
EL RENO, Oklahoma - Canadian County Deputies say a former judge for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes was arrested this week for sexually abusing young children within his own family.
The investigation started on Lehman Coyote last December after a mother and her child, who is an alleged victim, came forward with graphic details of the sexual abuse.
News that a longtime neighbor was arrested for alleged child sex crimes was startling.
"I'm shocked, this is shocking me, I don't believe it,” said Ruth Ann Bonnacini.
"There's kids over there all the time, grandkids, nieces, nephews, a loving family."
Ruth Ann has lived in her El Reno home for 30 years across the street from the accused, Lehman Coyote, who she said he is a genuine family man.
"They're pretty nice people really, they've always been good to us," said neighbor Jerry Moore.
That's why neighbors are stunned that Coyote, 62, once a Tribal Judge, was arrested at his El Reno home Tuesday for allegedly sexually abusing children in his own family and of close friends.
"Everything about this I think is just heinous and atrocious, it took a lot of courage for these victims to come forward, and there's potential there are unknown victims out there,” said Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West.
"Other than peacefully allowing us to take him into custody, he has not cooperated."
Investigators said the abuse often occurred during out-of-state family trips, in addition to happening in Oklahoma. Coyote allegedly gave drugs and alcohol to underage kids and even bribed his victims to keep quiet by giving them money, video games, trips or cars.
Lehman now faces 11 criminal counts, including rape, lewd acts with a child and child sexual abuse. The alleged offenses range from late last year up to 15 years ago.
Deputies searched Coyote's home and seized 18 guns, along with a large amount of drugs.
"I'm having a hard time swallowing this, I'm afraid we're the kind of people out here, I'd have to hear Lehman say, yeah I did this, I'm sorry," Ruth Ann said.
The Cheyenne and Arapaho leaders were out of town and not available for comment. Coyote was not a judge under the current administration, which has been in place for the last 5 years.
Coyote is currently out of jail on a $270,000 bond.