Navajo advocate charged with molestation, kidnapping

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

GALLUP, September 13, 2012

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B ack on September 19, 2004, Scott Bray was probably at the peak of his power.

Although blinded by a car accident that also took the life of his stepson, Bray was still well thought of in the Navajo tribal government and had gone on a one-man crusade to bring social justice to the Navajo people.

On that date, he held the inauguration dinner for his newly created Navajo Institute of Social Justice and held a steak dinner to award 20 adults, who earned what he called the "Great Spirit Awards", which were for those Navajos he felt had advanced social justice for the Navajo people or stood up for Navajo civil rights.

The list of awardees included former and past leaders of the tribe and people who used their position to further causes Bray felt were important. Each received $1,000.

Up until last week, that is what Bray would have probably been known for - a non-Native who stood up for Navajo rights.

But that changed last Thursday when detectives from the McKinley County Sheriff's Office arrested Bray on a wide variety of child sexual molestation charges, ranging from criminal sexual contact of a minor to aggravated indecent exposure. He was also charged with kidnapping.

In the arrest warrant, Bray was accused of putting an ad in the Navajo Times promoting his "Einstein Project: Earn and Learn," in which he offered Navajo boys between the ages of 10 and 15 a chance to take special classes at his school which was located in his home just south of Gallup.

Boys who were admitted were told they could earn up to $100 a week and scholarships of up to $1,000 a week if they were accepted.

One Navajo woman told deputies recently that she saw the ad in July and applied for her 12-year-old grandson to be admitted into the program in August. He was accepted and the grandmother said she dropped the boy off at the Great Spirits Ranch on Aug. 6.

Three days later his uncle was notified to pick him up. The boy later told police that he was held captive within the building, had his cell phone taken from him, had his head shaven and forced several times to take off all of his clothes despite his protests.

On the second day, Bray found him crying, the boy later said, and forced him to remove his shorts and underwear and undergo a hard spanking. At one point, Bray talked to him and said he was not a child molester while he touched his genitals.

The boy said he managed to escape on the third day when he found his cell phone and told his uncle to come and pick him up. When his uncle arrived, Bray was forced to turn off his alarm system and when he did, the boy said he jumped out a window and ran to his uncle.

Bray was put in the McKinley County Adult Detention Center, even though jail officials were concerned that they did not have the facility to handle someone who was blind. That didn't become an issue because within two hours, Bray had posted his $15,000 bond and was released.

Bray has been a well-known figure within tribal circles for almost 20 years. For a time, he served as a speechwriter for former tribal president Kelsey Begaye.

On November 21, 1999, when Bray was a speechwriter for Begaye, he was traveling to California with his soon-to-be-adopted son, Scotty, when he was involved in a head-on auto accident that killed Scotty and left him in the hospital for several months "fighting for his life," as his website states.

He later said he had a heart attack while on the operating table and his spirit left his body as he watched doctors work frantically to save his life. The accident would leave him blind and partially deaf.

But his work with the Navajo Nation didn't end with Begaye.

He also met with tribal leaders over the years several times to talk about projects he was spearheading to protect Navajos from injustice.

But over the years, Bray exported a number of strange incidents that occurred to him as he fought for social justice for the Navajos.

In 2007, New Mexico State University officials halted a study he was doing on racism against Navajo high school graduates.

Bray, who was pursuing a doctorate in philosophy, had put ads in local papers offering $100 to Navajo students. Many students agreed to be interviewed by Bray for three 90-minute sessions on their experiences with racism.

The university stopped the program and declined to tell the public why.

Bray said later that the study ended because when he was giving one of the interviews in Farmington, N.M. to a female subject, he suddenly heard a clicking sound by his right ear.

He said he panicked - "I thought that they were going to kill me" – then he turned over the tape recorder to the female subject and told her to complete the interview by herself and mail him back to him to get the $100.

In 2004, he made the news when he reported that his guard dog, Einstein II, had died mysteriously.

New reports had said that Bray had become paranoiac about his safety because of the accident. He had put razor wire all around his home in Vanderwagen, N.M. and had a state-of-the-art security system installed. He also had guard dogs.

He reported to police that the dog was found dead a long distance from his home and he suspected that the dog had been intentionally killed.

At that time he used his home as a summer day camp for Navajo children.

One area legislator said that Bray had been in touch with him recently about sponsoring a program that would require all professors in the state to get background checks as part of a safety program to protect college students from predators.

On his website,, Bray said he applied twice to become a Roman Catholic priest but was turned down because he wore a hearing aid.

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