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Press Release

Former Corrections Officer at Shiprock, N.M., Detention Center Charged for Sexually Abusing a Female Inmate

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury in Albuquerque indicted Sylvester Bruce, 44, a former corrections officer with Navajo Nation’s Shiprock, N.M., Detention Center, on charges related to the sexual abuse of an inmate during the summer and fall of 2010. The indictment was returned on March 28, 2012, and was publicly posted earlier today.


Bruce is charged with one count of violating the civil rights of the victim by engaging in sexual contact with the victim and depriving her of her right to bodily integrity. The defendant is also charged with abusive sexual contact of the victim without her consent. Bruce is also charged with two counts of making false statements to the FBI, for denying that he had sexual contact with the inmate and for further denying that he took pictures of inmates inside the cells of the Shiprock Detention Center.


Bruce faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison for abusive sexual contact, one year in prison for the civil rights violation and 10 years in prison for the charges related to false statements.


An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.


This case is being investigated by the Farmington, N.M., Resident Agency of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Baker for the District of New Mexico and Fara Gold of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Updated August 24, 2015

Press Release Number: 12-407