News and Press Releases

Ramah Navajo Man Sentenced for Aggravated
Sexual Abuse of Navajo Teenager

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Sabastiano Coho, 23, a member of the Ramah Chapter of the Navajo Nation, was sentenced today to 50 months in federal prison followed by ten years of supervised release for his aggravated sexual abuse conviction.  Coho will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.

Coho was arrested in Feb. 2011, on a criminal complaint charging him with aggravated sexual abuse and subsequently indicted in March 2011.  According to court filings, Coho attempted to sexually assault the victim, a 19-year-old Navajo woman, on Jan. 25, 2011, in a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation in Cibola County, N.M.  Proceedings in the case were delayed as a result of competency evaluations.

On April 3, 2014, Coho pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that he attempted to engage in a sexual act, by using force, with the victim on Jan. 25, 2011.

 This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Ramah Navajo Tribal Police Department and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams. 

The case was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

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