Kirtland, N.M., Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Statutory Rape Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Justin Chee, 24, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Kirtland, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to an indictment charging him with statutory rape.
Chee was arrested in March 2014, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he engaged in a sexual act with a Jicarilla Apache child between the age of 12 and 16 years. Chee subsequently was indicted and charged with statutory rape. According to the indictment, Chee committed the offense in Aug. 2012, in a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation.
In his plea agreement, Chee admitted that on Aug. 30, 2012, when he was 22 years of age, he knowingly engaged in a sexual act with the 14-year-old victim.
Chee has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Chee faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in federal prison. Chee also will be required to register as a sex offender.
This case was investigated by the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety with assistance from the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department and the San Juan Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback 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/.