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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 20, 2022

Navajo man arraigned on child sex abuse charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Christian Apachito, 27, of TóHajiilee, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, was arraigned in federal court today on a two-count indictment charging him with one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child with force or threat and one count of sexual abuse of a minor. Apachito will remain on conditions of release pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Apachito on April 28. According to the indictment and other court records, on Nov. 11, 2020, Apachito allegedly engaged in a sexual act with a child, identified in court records as Jane Doe, by using force against her. At the time of the abuse, Jane Doe had attained the age of 12 but was not yet 16. The alleged crime took place on the Navajo Nation Crownpoint Reservation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Apachito faces up to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse of a minor and a minimum of 30 years and up to life in prison for aggravated sexual abuse of a child with force or threat.

The FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Crownpoint Navajo Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Mark Pfizenmayer is prosecuting the case 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/.

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Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
22-118
Updated May 20, 2022