Skip to main content
Press Release

Zuni Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse Against Children in Indian Country

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Rodney Waikaniwa pled guilty in federal court to 2 counts of abusive sexual contact. Waikaniwa, 51, of Zuni, and an enrolled member of the Zuni Pueblo, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Waikaniwa on May 24, 2023. According to publicly available court records, between September 2l, 2000, and September 20, 2001, Waikaniwa intentionally touched his first victim, Jane Doe 1 with the intent of gratifying his own sexual desire. At the time, Jane Doe 1 was only about eight years old. Between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2015, Waikaniwa intentionally touched a second victim, Jane Doe 2, with the same sexual intent. At the time, Jane Doe 2 was approximately 6 years old.

Under the terms of the agreement, at sentencing, Waikaniwa faces a minimum of ten years in prison up to a maximum of fifteen years. This term of incarceration will be followed by a term of supervised release of not less than 5 years and up to life. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

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

If you have reason to believe you or your child may be a victim, please call the FBI at (505) 889-1300 or submit their tips online at

Waikaniwa picture

# # #

Updated March 13, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-104