Mescalero Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Sexual Abuse Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Daniel Pete Valdez, 44, an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a sexual abuse charge.
Valdez was arrested on Aug. 25, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with sexually assaulting a woman on June 20, 2014, on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in Otero County., N.M. Valdez was subsequently indicted on Jan. 20, 2016, on a sexual abuse charge.
According to court documents, Valdez engaged in a sexual act with the victim while she was unconscious and physically incapable of declining participation in or communicating unwillingness to engage in the sexual act.
Valdez pled guilty today without the benefit of a plea agreement. At sentencing, Valdez faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. Valdez 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 and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron O. Jordan of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.