US: No charges warranted in damage to sacred site

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 12, 2014 at 9:40 am •  Published: May 12, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor is defending the decision not to bring charges against National Park Service officials responsible for $3 million in illegal projects that damaged a sacred American Indian burial ground in Iowa.

Pete Deegan, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Cedar Rapids, said Monday that prosecutors gave "careful consideration" but determined that charges against former superintendent Phyllis Ewing or other employees were not justified.

A National Park Service investigation found that Ewing and subordinates illegally built boardwalks, trails and a maintenance shed at Effigy Mound National Monument in northeast Iowa between 1999 and 2010.

Ewing's attorney says she didn't knowingly break any law, and was trying to make the monument more handicap-accessible. But some park service employees told investigators that Ewing intentionally circumvented laws meant to protect historic properties.