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Justice News

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

San Felipe Pueblo Man Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Child Abuse Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE – Robert Chavarillo, 33, a member and resident of San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon to three years in federal prison followed by a year of supervised release for his child abuse conviction.  His girlfriend, Janaca Yatsattie, 29, also a San Felipe Pueblo member, was sentenced to three years of probation for her conviction for misprision of a felony.

In May 2012, Chavarillo and Yatsattie were charged in a two-count indictment alleging (1) assault resulting in serious bodily injury and (2) child abuse.  The charges against the couple were the result of an investigation that was initiated after a San Felipe Pueblo social worker contacted federal authorities to make a child abuse referral.  The investigation revealed that, in Dec. 2011, Chavarillo abused a child by burning the child in the groin area because the child wet the bed, and that Yatsittie was aware of the abuse but did not act to stop the abuse or report it to the authorities.   According to court filings, Chavarillo initially told law enforcement that burning  a child’s groin was part of a traditional Native American ceremony but other evidence in the case contradicted his claim.

Chavarillo pleaded guilty in Dec. 2012, to Count 2 of the indictment, charging him with child abuse, and admitted he endangered a child’s health by burning the child in the groin area.  On that same day, Yatsittie entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging her with misprision of a felony and admitted knowing that Chavarillo committed a felony but failing to report it to proper authorities.  Both admitted that their unlawful acts occurred in the San Felipe Indian Reservation. 

This case was investigated by the Southern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback.

Updated January 26, 2015