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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Non-Indian Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing an Indian Child on Laguna Pueblo Land

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Ray Looney, 39, a non-Indian man who resides in the Pueblo of Laguna, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to sexually abusing a minor child under a plea agreement that requires the imposition of a 15-year federal prison sentence.  The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, DuWayne W. Honahni, Sr., Special Agent in Charge of District IV of BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and Acting Chief Brian Carr of the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department.

Looney was arrested on June 28, 2013, on a criminal complaint alleging that he forced an Indian child between the age of 12 and 16 years to engage in sexual acts.  The complaint alleged that Looney committed these criminal acts within the Pueblo of Laguna in Cibola County, N.M.

Today Looney entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with sexual abuse of a minor.  In his plea agreement, Looney admitted to engaging in sexual acts with the child victim from March 2013 to June 2013.  Looney also admitted knowing that the victim was under 16 years of age when Looney violated the child.

Looney has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  After Looney completes his 15-year prison sentence, he will be on supervised release for a term of years to be determined by the court.  Looney also will be required to register as a sex offender.

This case was investigated by the Laguna Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department.  It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams.  The case was brought 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/.

Updated January 26, 2015