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Press Release

Shiprock Man Sentenced To Ten Years In Federal Prison For Federal Child Sex Abuse Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Delbert Begaye, 56, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., was sentenced this morning to ten years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.  Begaye will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.

Begaye was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with child sex abuse offenses in Feb. 2012, and has been in federal custody since that time.  Begaye pleaded guilty in Sept. 2012 to a felony information charging him with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. 

As to the first count of the information, Begaye’s plea agreement states that between March 1989 and Oct. 1989, Begaye engaged in sexual acts with a child who was approximately ten years of age on approximately six occasions.  Begaye admitted that, on each of the six occasions, he forcibly grabbed and carried the child victim into her home where he sexually assaulted her.  The child victim did not disclose the assaults because Begaye threatened to physically harm the victim’s sibling.  The assaults occurred in Hogsback, N.M., which is located within the Navajo Indian Reservation.

As to the second count, Begaye’s plea agreement states that between Jan. 1991 and Dec. 1995, he engaged in sexual acts with a child who had not attained the age of 12.  Begaye admitted that he sexually assaulted the child victim on multiple occasions during this five year period.  The assaults occurred in Indian Village, N.M., which is located within the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Begaye’s criminal conduct first came to light in Feb. 2012, when a 32-year-old Navajo woman reported to the FBI and Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety that Begaye had sexually assaulted her in 1989, when she was a child.  Subsequent investigation revealed that Begaye also had sexually assaulted a second child victim referred to in the second count of the information. 

The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito 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

Updated January 26, 2015