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Press Release

San Felipe Man Charged with Sexual Abuse

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

ALBUQUERQUE – A San Felipe man was indicted for engaging in sexual acts and sexual contact with a child under the age of 12 years.

The indictment alleges that Vernon Chavez, 61, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of San Felipe, engaged in a sexual act with Jane Doe, a child who had not then attained the age of 12 years between May 2016 and September 2017, and engaged in sexual contact with Jane Doe between August 1 and August 15, 2022.

Chavez is charged with one count each of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact A federal judge detained Chavez pending a detention hearing which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

If convicted of the current charges, Chavez faces a minimum of 30 years and up to life in prison.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez made the announcement today.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Jesse Pecoraro is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated May 6, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-165