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Press Release

Navajo Man from McKinley County Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Abuse Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Joe Lee Haines, 36, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Tinian, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a child abuse charge.  Haines’ plea agreement recommends a prison sentence of a year and a day followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Haines was arrested on Sept. 21, 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with child abuse.  According to the complaint, Haines placed the barrel of a firearm into the mouth of an 11-year-old child.  Haines subsequently was indicted on Oct. 11, 2017, and charged with child abuse on Sept. 1, 2017, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Haines pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Sept. 1, 2017, while he was intoxicated, he accused a child under the age of 18 years of stealing money from his wallet.  After the child fell asleep, Haines admitted that he placed a rifle into the child’s mouth, accused the child of taking money and threatened to pull the trigger.

A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 17, 2018

Indian Country Law and Justice