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Press Release

Zuni man faces charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Phillip Lahi, Sr., 70, and an enrolled member of the Zuni Pueblo, made an initial appearance in federal court today facing charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country. Lahi will remain in custody/on conditions of release pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 3.

According to a criminal complaint, Lahi allegedly engaged in and attempted to engage in sexual conduct with the victim, identified as Jane Doe, since she was five or six years old. Lahi’s alleged conduct included exposing himself to the child, who is an enrolled member of the Zuni Pueblo, and performing sexual acts in front of her. In October of 2021, when Jane Doe was nine years old, Lahi allegedly forcibly engaged in sex with her. Lahi allegedly committed the offenses on the Pueblo of Zuni.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Lahi faces a minimum of 30 years and up to life in prison.

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Zuni Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Brittany DuChaussee is prosecuting the case.

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Updated April 29, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 22-97