Santa Clara Man Charged with Federal Child Sex Abuse Offense
ALBUQUERQUE – This morning, Steven Henry Sisneros, 27, was ordered detained pending trial after a United States Magistrate Judge in federal court in Albuquerque found that his arrest on a child sex abuse charge was supported by probable cause.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Sisneros, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Santa Clara, was arrested on March 26, 2011 based on a criminal complaint alleging sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country. More specifically, the complaint alleges that Sisneros engaged in a sexual act with a child, who had attained the age of 12 years, but not the age of 16 years. Sisneros has entered a not guilty plea to the offense charged in the criminal complaint. If convicted of this offense, Sisneros faces up to 15 years imprisonment, a maximum $250,000 fine, and a minimum five-year term of supervised release. Sisneros also would be required to register as a sex offender, if convicted.
According to the criminal complaint, on March 25, 2011, the Santa Clara Tribal Police Department went to Sisneros’ residence on the Pueblo of Santa Clara in connection with an investigation into a 15-year old runaway female (the child). Although the officers did not make contact with Sisneros at this time, within thirty minutes, the child turned herself in at the Tribal Police Department offices. The complaint alleges that, during interviews with a Santa Clara Tribal Police Officer and a Special Agent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the child reported that she had been staying with Sisneros since March 21, 2011 and had engaged in sexual acts with Sisneros on multiple occasions at his residence since that date. The child also reported that Sisneros was aware that she was only 15-years old.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Santa Clara Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark T. Baker.
A complaint is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.