News and Press Releases

73-Year old navajo man receives 5-Year prison sentence for child sex assault conviction

February 1, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE – This afternoon, United States District Judge James O. Browning sentenced Irvin Bitsilly, 73, to a five-year term of imprisonment to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release based on his conviction for sexual abuse. Bitsilly also will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison. At the conclusion of today's sentencing hearing, Bitsilly was remanded into the custody of the United States Marshals Service to begin serving his prison sentence.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Bitsilly, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Tohatchi, New Mexico, was arrested on October 1, 2009 based on a criminal complaint alleging that he sexually abused two minors. On October 21, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Bitsilly with (1) aggravated sexual abuse with children and (2) sexual abuse. On October 29, 2010, Bitsilly entered a guilty plea to count 2 of the indictment under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.

In his plea agreement, Bitsilly admitted that, between December 1, 2002 and March 30, 2003, he engaged in sexual intercourse with a child who was incapable of appraising the nature of the sexual act and could not communicate an unwillingness to engage in the sexual act. According to the criminal complaint, the child who was violated by Bitsilly in late 2002 or early 2003 was his stepdaughter, who is developmentally disabled. The complaint alleges that, during a forensic interview in mid-July 2009, the stepdaughter disclosed that Bitsilly sexually abused her when she was a child and a teenager. The stepdaughter also asserted that Bitsilly is the biological father of her daughter (Bitsilly’s step-granddaughter) who was born when she was sixteen. The complaint alleges that Bitsilly’s unlawful sexual abuse of his stepdaughter came to light in early-July 2009 when the step-granddaughter, a child under the age of twelve, complained to her mother and grandmother that Bitsilly had sexually abused her by touching her genitals.

Assistant United States Attorney Kyle T. Nayback prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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