Sexual Predator Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 23, 2013|
PHOENIX—On April 22, 2013, Jefferson Gatewood, 44, of Carrizo, Arizona, and a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, was sentenced by U.S. District Judges James A. Teilborg to 14 consecutive terms of life imprisonment. Gatewood was convicted at trial by jury on November 20, 2012, of 23 counts of aggravated sexual abuse and related charges, mostly involving minors, on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
Gatewood was previously convicted of assault with intent to commit rape in an Arizona U.S. District Court in 1987, after he and two co-defendants gang-raped a 19-year-old girl at knifepoint.
At trial, 15 victims testified that Gatewood had sexually abused them and physically abused some of them as well. At the time they were abused, the victims ranged in age from 5 years old to their early 20s. Gatewood’s abuses began nearly 30 years ago, when he was still a teenager, and continued on a regular basis until 2010 when this investigation was initiated.
The indictment charged Gatewood with sexually abusing nine young girls and teens dating back to 1992. Other sexual assaults were either barred by the statute of limitations or took place off of the reservation and out of the jurisdiction of the federal court. Nonetheless, the victims of the uncharged assaults were allowed to testify at trial regarding their victimization pursuant to the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The prosecution was handled by Dimitra H. Sampson and Sharon K. Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.