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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 28, 2016

Former Tribal Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse and Civil Rights Violations of Inmate

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Trevor Hunt, 22, of Paguate, N.M., a former detention officer with the Pueblo of Laguna’s Detention Facility (LPDF), pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on charges related to the sexual abuse of an inmate during the summer of 2015.  Specifically, Hunt pled guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a ward and one count of violating the civil rights of the victim, who was an inmate under Hunt’s supervision at the time Hunt committed the crimes. 

In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said, “Sexual assaults by corrections officers on those they are charged with keeping safe gravely undermine the very foundation of our judicial system.  The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute these crimes and work to vindicate the rights of the courageous victims who report them.”

“Correction Officers fill important and challenging roles in the criminal justice system. While the majority perform their duties honorably, those who abuse their authority deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.  “The FBI is proud to have worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department on this case.”

“The Pueblo of Laguna and its Public Safety Department do not condone Hunt’s conduct as demonstrated by the immediate judicial and administrative action taken by the Pueblo upon learning about this unfortunate incident.  Inmates of the Laguna Pueblo Detention Facility and other detention facilities deserve to feel safe and secure while incarcerated” said Director Jesse Orozco of the Pueblo of Laguna Public Safety Department.  “I am proud of the fine work done by the Laguna Pueblo law enforcement officers on this case, and would like to express my gratitude for the assistance of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office.”

According to the plea agreement, on May 23, 2015, Hunt was a corrections officer at the LPDF who supervised both male and female inmates.  On that day, Hunt accompanied the victim to the LPDF’s laundry room where he sexually assaulted the victim.  During today’s change of plea hearing, Hunt acknowledged that the victim was in official detention and under his custodial and supervisory control when he sexually assaulted her.  Hunt also admitted that he was aware that he willfully violated the victim’s constitutional rights when he assaulted her.

Hunt was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on Feb. 1, 2016, and will be detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Adams and Holland S. Kastrin.

This case was brought as part of 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 American 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.

Topic: 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated February 4, 2016