Woman sentenced to prison for assisting in Navajo Nation sexual assault

Published: Tuesday, March 22 2011 10:06 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A woman who assisted in a 2009 sexual assault case was sentenced Tuesday to more than 11 years in prison. 

Cynthia Bitsuie Jones, 41, Montezuma Creek, was sentenced to 140 months in federal prison for assaulting a woman and then holding her down while her son and another man sexually assaulted her, according to a news release. The attack took place on Dec. 2, 2009, in a remote area of Navajo Nation. 

Prosecutors said the three defendants had been drinking heavily with the victim and a 17-year-old girl when the victim became upset that Bitsue Jones was allowing her children to drink. 

Federal prosecutors said, in a sentencing memorandum, that facts in the case “clearly show that [Bitsuie Jones] caused serious bodily injury by severely assaulting, hitting and kicking the victim to the point that the victim was knocked to the ground, could barely see, and was eventually rendered unconscious." 

When the victim woke up after the assault, 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 hospital workers documented 42 distinct injuries on her body.

The other two defendants in the attack, both of Montezuma Creek, were sentenced to federal prison by U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart in late 2010. Bitsuie Jones' son, Michael Whitehorse, 21, was sentenced to 46 months and an acquaintance, Johnson Joe, 43, was sentenced to 110 months. 

Stewart ordered Bitsuie Jones to be on supervised release for life once she completes her prison sentence. 

Amanda Verzello

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