Shiprock man charged with sexual abuse of child

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he sexually abused a girl on Navajo Nation tribal land in San Juan County.

A federal grand jury in Albuquerque indicted Leonard Lewis, 65, on a charge of sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country, according to a June 3 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The indictment charges Lewis with engaging in a sexual act with a girl, identified in the court document as Jane Doe, who was between ages 12 and 16.

Lewis appeared for an initial hearing on the case on June 1 in federal court in Albuquerque.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on June 3, according to court documents.

The defendant "will remain in custody pending space at a halfway house, after which he will remain on conditions of release pending trial, which has not been scheduled," the news release states.

If convicted on the charge in the indictment, Lewis faces up to 15 years of imprisonment.

According to the news release, the investigation was handled by the Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office with assistance from the Navajo Nation Department of Criminal Investigation and the Navajo Police Department.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative launched in May 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse, the release states.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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