Navajo Man from Farmington Pleads Guilty to Federal Sexual Abuse Charge
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence against Native Women; Plea Agreement Requires Imposition of Prison Sentence within the Range of 210-262 Months
ALBUQUERQUE – Ferguson Pierce, 52, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Farmington, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to an aggravated sexual abuse charge. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Pierce will be sentenced within the range of 210 to 262 months in prison followed by not less than five years of supervised release. Pierce will also be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Director Jesse Delmar of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Pierce was arrested in Nov. 2015, on a criminal complaint alleging that he sexually assaulted and raped a Navajo woman in San Juan County, N.M., on the Navajo Indian Reservation, on July 6, 2015. Pierce was indicted on Aug. 25, 2015, and charged with aggravated sexual abuse.
During today’s proceedings, Pierce pled guilty to a felony information charging him with aggravated sexual abuse. In entering the guilty plea, Pierce admitted that on July 6, 2015, he forced the victim to engage in a sexual act. Pierce admitted that he forced his way into the victim’s residence and sexually assaulted the victim.
Pierce has been in federal custody since his arrest, and will remain detained pending sentencing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams is prosecuting the case as part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico, which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native American women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.