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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Navajo man arraigned for child sexual abuse in Indian Country

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Leonard Yazzie, 39, of Pine Hill, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, was arraigned in federal court today on a charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country. Yazzie will remain in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for April 7.

A federal grand jury indicted Yazzie on March 23. According to the indictment, on March 28, 2016, and March 27, 2017, Yazzie allegedly engaged in a sexual act with a victim, identified as Jane Doe. At the time, Jane Doe was under 12 years old. The abuse is alleged to have occurred on the Ramah Navajo Reservation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Yazzie faces a minimum of 30 years and up to life in prison.

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Ramah Navajo Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Chelsea N. Van Deventer is prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
22-76
Updated April 5, 2022