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Press Release

Non-Indian Man Sentenced to Five Years for Sexually Abusing Navajo Woman

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Mark Silva, 48, of Sundance, N.M., was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 60 months of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on a sexual abuse charge.  Silva will also be required to register as a sex offender.

The FBI arrested Silva on April 4, 2017, on an indictment that charged him with sexually abusing an Indian woman on May 1, 2016, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M.

On Oct. 12, 2017, Silva pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on May 1, 2016, he sexually abused a Navajo woman.  Silva admitted engaging in the sexual act while knowing that the victim was incapable of declining to participate in, or communicating the unwillingness to engage in, the sexual act. 

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Spindle 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 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.

Updated August 2, 2018

Indian Country Law and Justice