Federal Jury Finds Hogback, N.M., Man Guilty of Federal Rape Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., returned a guilty verdict against Myron Jim Harry, 26, on an indictment charging him with rape after a four-day trial. The guilty verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and John Billison, Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Harry, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Hogback, N.M., was arrested in May 2010, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he sexually abused a Navajo woman in Shiprock, N.M., which is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, on May 6, 2010. According to the complaint, Harry committed the offense while the victim could not communicate her unwillingness to participate in the sexual act. Harry subsequently was indicted on that same charge.
The evidence at trial established that, on the night of May 5, 2010, Harry, and several others drank alcoholic beverages during the victim’s birthday party in a Shiprock apartment. The victim fell asleep next to another woman in a bedroom in the apartment. Early the next morning, Harry made his way through the bedroom’s locked door to get to the victim and she awoke to find Harry raping her. The other woman, who was awoken by the bed moving and the moaning of a male voice, observed that Harry was having sexual intercourse with the victim while the victim was asleep. The woman yelled at Harry, told him to get off of the victim, and threw him out of the apartment. Other witnesses in the apartment testified that the victim was in a state of shock and crying after being violated by Harry.
After sexually assaulting the victim, Harry fled the apartment but returned shortly thereafter because he had forgotten his keys. While retrieving his keys, Harry was confronted by several angry women who accused him of raping the victim. Another witness testified about receiving “text” messages from Harry in which, while not clear, Harry implied that he had done something wrong.
The victim subsequently was examined at a medical facility where a sexual assault evidence kit was used to preserve evidence. The examination revealed that the victim sustained physical injuries to her vaginal area. DNA analysis also revealed that Harry’s semen was found on the victim.
Harry testified in his own defense and claimed that the victim consented to having sex with him. A defense expert witness testified that there was no physical evidence to prove that this was a non-consensual intercourse.
The jury deliberated approximately five hours before returning a guilty verdict against Harry.
Harry was remanded into federal custody when the jury returned its verdict and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Harry faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Harry also will be required to register as a sex offender when he completes his prison sentence.
This case was investigated by the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Adams. It was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, and 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.