Woman sentenced to four years in sex abuse case

Rachel Paige Crowe Rachel Paige Crowe

Rachel Paige Crowe, 33, has been sentenced to four years in federal prison, five years of probation, $5,200 in fines and at least 15 years on the sex offender registry after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy on the Qualla Boundary in 2022. 

Crowe had originally faced five charges, four related to alleged sexual encounters with the boy and a fifth for allegedly lying to an FBI agent about the magnitude of her online interactions with the victim. She pleaded guilty to two charges of engaging in sexual contact with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16, with the remaining charges dismissed. Both Crowe and the minor victim are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, resulting in the case being handled in federal court.

According to the factual basis that Crowe agreed to in accepting the plea, the investigation came about after, while drinking with friends, Crowe told them she had sex with the boy after his uncle, who was her boyfriend, told her to. However, the investigation revealed that the relationship went further than a one-time encounter, with the FBI discovering a sexually explicit video from Crowe on the victim’s phone and hundreds of Snapchat communications between the two, “several sexual in nature and describing past and planned sexual encounters,” the factual basis document says.  

Crowe entered her guilty plea in April 2023, with U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. handing down the sentence on Jan. 23. Upon her release, Crowe will be subject to many restrictions while on parole and while on the sex offender registry.

— Holly Kays, Staff Writer

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