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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Acoma Pueblo Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Sexual Assault Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Eric Chino, 33, a member and resident of Acoma Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 36 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his abusive sexual contact conviction. Chino will also be required to register as a sex offender following his incarceration.

Chino was arrested on Nov. 26, 2014, on an indictment alleging that Chino sexually assaulted an Acoma Pueblo woman on June 24, 2012, in Acoma Pueblo within Cibola County, N.M.

On March 12, 2015, Chino pled guilty to a felony information charging him with abusive sexual contact.  In entering the guilty plea Chino admitted engaging in and attempting to engage in sexual contact with the victim by force.  He admitted forcefully touching the victim’s breast and genitals despite the victim’s demands that he stop.

This case was investigated by the Laguna/Acoma Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Acoma Pueblo Tribal Police Department, and was prosecuted by 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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Updated June 17, 2015