Mescalero Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Sexual Abuse Charge
Prosecution Brought Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Bow Smith, 31, an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pled guilty yesterday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to sexually abusing a minor.
Smith was arrested on May 7, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with sexually abusing a minor in Otero County, N.M., on March 8, 2016.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Smith pled guilty to a felony information charging him with sexually abusing a minor. In entering the guilty plea, Smith admitted that he was 30 years old when he engaged in a sexual act with the victim who was 15 years old at the time. Smith further admitted that the abuse took place on the Mescalero Apache reservation in Otero County.
At sentencing, Smith faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence. Smith remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Mescalero Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron O. Jordan of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office 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/.