Two Grey Hills, N.M., Man Sentenced to More Than Fifteen Years in Federal Prison for Child Sex Assault Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE – Willis Yazzie, 34, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Two Grey Hills, N.M., was sentenced today to 188 months in federal prison followed by eight years of supervised release for his aggravated sexual assault conviction. Yazzie will be required to register as a sex offender when he completes his prison sentence.
Yazzie’s sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Director John Billison of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Yazzie was arrested by the FBI on May 11, 2010, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he had sexually abused two children, then ages 13 and 10. Yazzie has been in federal custody since that time. According to court filings, the abuse allegations against Yazzie came to light on May 3, 2010, when the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services contacted the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety to report the abuse. According to the complaint, Yazzie abused the older child beginning in 2008 and continuing until April 2010, and allegedly abused the younger child beginning in April 2010.
In June 2010, Yazzie was indicted and charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16, and aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. On Feb. 9, 2011, Yazzie pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with aggravated sexual abuse, and admitted abusing a 13-year-old child by inappropriately touching the victim’s genitals. He also admitted that the sexual assault occurred in Two Grey Hills, which is located in the Navajo Indian Reservation.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, with assistance from the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob A. Wishard and Jennifer M. Rozzoni as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.