SHIPROCK —A 25-year-old Shiprock man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to engaging in a sexual act with a child, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office press release.
Gerald A. Tso, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on a charge of aggravated sexual assault after making a plea agreement. His sentence will be followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court, according to the press release, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.
Tso was arrested in February on a criminal complaint charging him with aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
According to the criminal complaint, Tso's sister reported her 7-year-old son had been sexually assaulted by Tso at her residence on Feb. 27. Tso's sister alleged her brother performed oral sex on her son.
Tso was staying at her home at the time, the complaint states, and came home extremely intoxicated on the night of the incident.
Tso said in an interview he had "blacked out" and had no memory of being at the house.
He admitted to engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 12 by entering into the plea agreement, the release states.
The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety's Shiprock office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline D. Wilson prosecuted the case.
The case was brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, the release states.
The project uses federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.