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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Non-Indian Sex Offender from Vanderwagon Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse and Kidnapping Charges Involving Navajo Child

Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood and Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – William Detwiler, 67, a non-Indian who resides in Vanderwagon, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to child sexual abuse and kidnapping charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Detwiler will be sentenced within the range of 120 to 150 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.  Detwiler will be required to register as a sex offender after completing 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 New Mexico State Police Chief Pete N. Kassetas.

Detwiler, who has a prior conviction for criminal sexual contact with a minor, was arrested on May 31, 2016, on a four-count indictment, charging him with two counts of aggravated child sexual assault and two counts of kidnapping.  According to the indictment, Detwiler kidnapped an Indian child under the age of 16 years and sexually abused the victim on two occasions between Nov. 2013 and June 2014.  Detwiler was charged with committing the four crimes on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M.

During today’s plea hearing, Detwiler pled guilty to a felony information charging him with abusive sexual contact and kidnapping.  In entering the guilty plea, Detwiler admitted that in Nov. 2013, 2013, he engaged in sexual contact with the victim and acknowledged that the victim was under the age of 16 years.  Detwiler further admitted that on a date between Aug. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2014, he kidnapped a different Indian child under the age of 16 years.

Detwiler remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Marshall and Novaline D. Wilson 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/.

The case also is being prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rates, on a per capita basis, are amongst the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates under this initiative.

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crimes
Updated August 11, 2016