Navajo Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse Charges
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women
ALBUQUERQUE – Zachary Wilson, 27, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Dulce, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to sexual abuse charges. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Wilson will be sentenced within the range of 24 to 36 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Wilson also will be required to register as a sex offender.
Wilson was arrested on May 1, 2017, on a two-count indictment charging him with sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact on July 30, 2016, on the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation in Rio Arriba County, N.M.
During today’s change of plea hearing, Wilson pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment charging him with abusive sexual contact and to a felony information charging him with abusive sexual contact. In entering the guilty plea, Wilson admitted that on July 30, 2016, he engaged in two acts of sexual contact with a Jicarilla Apache woman who had not reached the age of majority. Wilson also admitted that the victim was incapable of declining to participate in or communicate the unwillingness to engage in a sexual act. Wilson remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa Dimas pursuant to 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 women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was driven largely 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.