News and Press Releases

Shiprock Man Pleads Guilty to Federal
Child Sexual Abuse Charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Gilbert Yazzie, 45, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a felony information charging him with aggravated sexual abuse of a child.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Yazzie will be sentenced to eight years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.  Yazzie also will be required to register as a sex offender.

Yazzie was arrested in June 2013, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he engaged in a sexual act with a Navajo child under the age of 12 years.  According to court filings, Yazzie sexually abused the child victim on June 15, 2013, in a residence in Shiprock, which is within the Navajo Indian Reservation.  During today’s change of plea hearing, Yazzie admitted that on June 15, 2013, he engaged in a sexual act with the child victim.

Yazzie has been in federal custody since his arrest.  He remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. 

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Novaline D. Wilson and Glynette R. Carson McNabb 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/.

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