Suquamish Tribal Member Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Domestic Violence Assaults
An enrolled member of the Suquamish Indian Tribe was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 18 months in prison for two counts of assault resulting in substantial bodily injury, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. WADE WILLIAMS, 43, of Suquamish, Washington admitted assaulting his domestic partner in February 2013 and in May 2014. Originally charged for the February 2013 assault in Suquamish Tribal Court, the case was later charged federally when the pattern of abuse continued and culminated with an additional serious assault in May 2014. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “I was taught to treat women not as chattel or as property, but as equals ... As partners. How have we gotten so depraved that we tolerate this conduct for so long?”
According to records filed in the case, in February 2013, WILLIAMS assaulted his then girlfriend, spitting in her face, breaking her cell phone to prevent her from calling the police, and pushing her to the floor where she fell on other items bruising her hands, arms and legs. The victim sought medical attention, and WILLIAMS was charged in Tribal Court. WILLIAMS later violated a Tribal Court-issued No Contact Order and at the urging of WILLIAMS and his family, the victim recanted her statement to police and reconciled with WILLIAMS. As a result he Tribal Court charges were dismissed. On May 5, 2014, WILLIAMS repeatedly beat the victim with a broom, and grabbed her and held her so tightly she could not breathe and lost consciousness. The victim fell and hit her head on stone steps, creating permanent vision problems that ultimately required surgery.
WILLIAMS pleaded guilty to these two federal assault crimes in March 2015.
The case was investigated by the Suquamish Tribal Police Department and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Amy Jaquette.
Because the Suquamish Indian Reservation is a federal-jurisdiction reservation, certain violent crimes occurring on that Reservation are investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Suquamish Tribal Police Department. Those cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Violence against American Indian women occurs at epidemic rates. In 2005, Congress found that one in three American Indian women is raped during her lifetime, and American Indian women are nearly three times more likely to be battered during their lives than Caucasian women. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in this District coordinates the engagement and action relative to public safety in tribal communities, including enhanced efforts to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against Indian and non-Indian women and children on federal-jurisdiction reservations under the Justice Department’s Tribal Safety program. To learn more about the Justice Department’s Tribal Safety program, visit http://www.justice.gov/tribal/.