Medicine man sentenced for sexually assaulting teen girl - Albuquerque Journal

Medicine man sentenced for sexually assaulting teen girl

A Shiprock man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for sexually assaulting a teenager while he was acting as the girl’s medicine man, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico announced Tuesday.

Leonard Lewis, 66, pleaded guilty in October to the assault, which happened on two consecutive days in the spring of 2021, according to court documents. The 15-year-old girl became pregnant as a result, Lewis wrote in his admission of facts.

Lewis said in the admission that he is a Navajo medicine man and the girl’s grandmother brought the child to Lewis to preform a traditional Navajo ceremony, and he assaulted her in an RV on his property in San Juan County.

“I did this again the next day after asking her grandmother to bring her back for another ceremony,” Lewis wrote in the court document. “Ultimately, Jane Doe became pregnant and bore a child of whom I am the biological father.”

After he is released from prison, Lewis will face a lifetime of supervised release and must register as a sex offender, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dennis Candelaria, Lewis’ attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum that his client suffers from anxiety and is grieving after losing four siblings and a daughter during the COVID-19 pandemic. Candelaria said Lewis is in poor health and uses a walker.

U.S. District Judge Kea W. Riggs handed down the sentence during a hearing Monday in Albuquerque.

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