Home Salt Lake City Press Releases 2009 Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging Three with Aggravated Sexual Abuse, Aggravated Assault on Navajo Nation...

Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging Three with Aggravated Sexual Abuse, Aggravated Assault on Navajo Nation Reservation

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 17, 2009
  • District of Utah (801) 524-5682

SALT LAKE CITY—A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment late Wednesday afternoon charging three individuals with aggravated sexual abuse and aggravated assault in connection with a December 2, 2009, incident on the Navajo Nation Reservation.

Charged in the indictment are Cynthia Bitsuie, age 40, Michael Whitehorse, age 20, and Johnson Joe, age 42, all of Montezuma Creek. The three were arrested Wednesday night as a part of an investigation conducted by the FBI and Navajo Criminal Investigators.

The indictment alleges the three used force to sexually abuse the victim and that the assault caused serious bodily injury.

The incident happened in a remote area east of Montezuma Creek. The victim, left alone after the alleged assault, was able to drive herself to a hospital. Law enforcement officers were notified at that point.

Bitsuie, Whitehorse, and Joe had initial appearances Thursday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Alba. A detention hearing is scheduled for Monday at 3 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells. The potential maximum penalty for aggravated sexual assault is up to life in federal prison. The potential penalty for aggravated assault is 10 years. Both counts carry potential fines of $250,000. Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.