News and Press Releases

Santo domingo man sentenced to 18-Months imprisonment for child sex abuse conviction

January 12, 2011

This morning, United States District Judge James O. Browning sentenced Michael Coriz, 26, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Santo Domingo, to a term of 18-months imprisonment to be followed by five years supervised release based on a child sex abuse conviction. Coriz also is required to register as a sex offender. Coriz has been on release under pretrial supervision since his arrest in March 2009, and Judge Browning ordered him to surrender to the United States Marshals Service to begin serving his prison term within forty-eight hours of his sentencing hearing.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Coriz was arrested on March 3, 2009 based on a criminal complaint alleging that he sexually assaulted a female child, who was also an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Santo Domingo. On March 26, 2009, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Coriz with two counts of abusive sexual contact with a child under the age of twelve. Coriz pleaded guilty to count one of the indictment on August 13, 2010 under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.

According to the criminal complaint, the sexual assault occurred on February 22, 2009, when the female child was at her grandmother’s home with Coriz, her cousin. Pursuant to Coriz’s instruction, the female child went to the bathroom to turn off a curling iron. Coriz followed her into the bathroom, locked the door, and proceeded to fondle the child. Coriz engaged in this unlawful conduct until his uncle knocked on the door and confronted Coriz about what he was doing in the bathroom with the child. After the child reported Coriz’s sexual assault to her mother, the child’s family convened a meeting and decided to report the assault to the authorities. Thereafter, the Federal Bureau of Investigations interviewed Coriz, and he admitted sexually assaulting the child.

In his plea agreement, Coriz admitted that, on February 22, 2009, he instructed the female child to go into the bathroom of their grandmother’s home where he kissed the child; fondled the child’s breasts under her clothes; touched the child’s vaginal area with his hand over her clothes; and rubbed his body against her’s. He further admitted that he stopped the assault when his uncle knocked on the door. Finally, Coriz admitted knowing that the child was less than twelve years old.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and was prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant United States Attorney Glynette Carson-McNabb.

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