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Court Cases | Diné facing child-sex charges in Utah federal court

LOS ANGELES

Quenton Yazzie, who is facing child sexual abuse charges in Utah Federal Court, was arrested last week in New Mexico on a warrant from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in Salt Lake City.

He is currently being held in custody by the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Albuquerque while waiting for transportation back to Salt Lake City.

He was indicted in December 2020 by a federal grand jury in Utah on charges of sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country.

The accuser, according to court records, is between 12 and 16 years of age when the alleged sexual assault was committed. The crime occurred within the Utah boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

Phoenix man sentenced for sexual abuse of Navajo child

A Phoenix man was sentenced to more than 22 years in federal prison for sexual contact of a minor on the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation.

Maurice Xavier Hollins, 25, pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this year.

Although a resident of Phoenix, Hollins spent several days on the reservation with his girlfriend. During that time, Hollins admitted he touched the victim, who was under the age of 12, inappropriately on several occasions while staying on the reservation in April 2020.

The crimes, he said, occurred on the Arizona portion of the reservation.

FBI agents arrested Hollins in May on a probation violation. In an interview, he agreed to waive his rights and admitted he touched the victim inappropriately three times during his stay on the reservation.

Hollins told FBI investigators that he knew he was making a bad decision. He claimed he did not stop because he did not want the victim to become upset and no longer want to be around him.

The victim said in her interview with a forensic psychologist that she told him to stop but this had no effect on him. The FBI became involved when the victim told a relative what was happening and she was taken to a nearby hospital for an examination.

Hollins told FBI officials that he was sorry for his actions and said that afterward it had “hurt him inside.”

Hollins has already filed an appeal. After he has served his sentence, he will be on supervised probation for the rest of his life.

Seba Delkai mom arrested for assault of child

A Seba Delkai, Arizona, woman last week was charged with assaulting one of her seven children after claiming the injuries were caused by a fall from a trampoline.

Melody Nez, no age given, is now being held in the custody of the U. S. Marshal’s Service in Prescott.

According to court records, Nez came under investigation on Aug. 22 when a pediatric nurse at Flagstaff Medical Center expressed concern about injuries suffered by a child who was transferred from the Hopi Health Care Clinic.

The nurse said that the boy, who was under 10 years of age, was suffering from multiple injuries, including a fractured right clavicle, a right distal radius irregularity, a right thumb fracture, and severe hydration. The child was also being tested for a possible head injury.

Further tests revealed that the boy had a left distal transverse fracture, bilateral public fractures, upper sacrum fractures, bilateral fractured femurs, an upper sacrum fracture, a humerus fracture, extensive bruising, bite marks, and face lacerations.

The tests revealed that the injuries were a mixture of old and new. Medical personnel believed there was a high probability that the injuries were the result of non-accidental trauma.

The only information the hospital received from the parents was that he had fallen off a trampoline a few days before being taken to the Hopi clinic.

Investigators learned that there were seven children in the household and that the boy brought in was Nez’s stepson.

Shortly after the boy was admitted to the hospital, an FBI agent interviewed Nez. She explained that the boy had only been in her care since May and continued to say that the injuries were caused by a fall from a trampoline.

When she was confronted with a list of the injuries the boy was suffering from, Nez recalled a time when she pulled him away really hard. Another time, she said, she pushed him but he didn’t fall.

The FBI agent told Nez he wanted the whole truth. She responded she was afraid to give it to him because of a fear she would never see her children again.

She then admitted she had hit the boy once and a short time later, admitted it had happened twice. These were on two separate occasions and was caused by the boy refusing to eat and talk.

She said she hit him with her hand and did not intent to hurt him, adding that she was taking care of seven children all by herself.

“She has been continually telling people something is wrong with her,” according to her arrest complaint.

“Melody stated she hates herself for doing this but nobody listens to her,” the complaint said.

She added that she tried to be patient with him and except for the two occasions when she hit him, she had not harmed him.

She mentioned another time when she was in the car with the boy and some of his brothers. She saw him hitting his head and stopped the vehicle. He got out of the car and she had to chase him down.

When she brought him back, she told her other boys that they needed to help her when she is getting overwhelmed and take the boy away from her until she calms down.

Workers for the Navajo Division of Social Welfare were informed about the investigation and they immediately removed the other six children from the home and put them in the custody of the division.

A couple of days later, Nez was interviewed again. She said the boy had actually fallen off the trampoline twice. She said there was another occasion where the boy wanted to go with her while she dropped the other children off. She said she slapped him in front of the other children.

This caused the boy to pee on the seat in the car, resuming in Nez asking him, “What the f—k is wrong with you?”

She said she then pushed him out of the car and he struck the ground hard as her other children looked on. She said she then said, “What the f—k is the matter with me.”

She said she then picked up the boy and helped him back into the car and saw that his eyes were rolled back. She then told the other children in the car that she would not be able to take them to school because she didn’t know what was wrong with the boy.

When she got home, she put the boy under a cold shower and told her other children not to say anything.

When FBI agents interviewed her other children at a safe house in Flagstaff, the children recalled the incident in the car.

They said the boy was pulling their mother’s hair and was told to stop or she would throw him out the window.

He begged her not to throw him out the window but at some point, she opened the door and threw him out as the vehicle was still moving.

One of the children said he remembers hearing a thump and then getting out of the vehicle and seeing the boy lying on his back, on the ground.

Another of her children said she remembered one time when her mother slapped the boy as he was sitting in the front with his mother. She said she didn’t know why she slapped him.

The other children said their mother had not hurt them but one expressed a concern about going back home.

The other six children stayed in the care of the division until Nov. 4 when a tribal court children’s judge ordered them returned – with the exception of the boy who was battered – home.

Federal authorities arrested Nez on Nov. 6.


About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.

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