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Man headed to prison for brutal sexual assault in Navajo Nation

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 7 2010 11:52 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who sexually assaulted a teenage girl while she was being held down by others is going to prison.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sentenced Johnson Joe, 42, to 110 months in federal prison after the Montezuma Creek man pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault. The judge also ordered Joe to be put on supervised release for life once his prison term ends.

Joe is on of three people charged in connection with the Dec. 2, 2009, assault on a 17-year-old girl in a remote area of the Navajo Nation in southeastern Utah.

Joe, Michael Whitehorse and Cynthia Bitsuie Jones had been drinking heavily with the victim when she became upset that Bitsuie Jones was allowing her children to drink.

The trio left and then returned and held the woman down while they alternately punched, kicked and sexually assaulted her. When the victim woke up, she found her clothing but could not find her jacket or car keys. She used a tool to start her vehicle and with both eyes nearly swollen shut, drove to a hospital. Prosecutors said doctors documented 42 distinct injuries on her body.

Whitehorse, 21, was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to abusive sexual contact. Bitsuie Jones, 41, who admitted to holding the victim down while Joe assaulted her, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual abuse and will be sentenced Jan. 4.

— Dennis Romboy

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