Law | National

White Mountain Apache man linked to a string of sexual assaults





A member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe has been indicted for assaulting nine girls and women on the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona.

Jefferson Gatewood, 48, is a registered sex offender. He served time in prison for assaulting a woman on the reservation in 1986.

After moving back to Fort Apache, authorities say Gatewood continued to victimize other women and girls, some of them on more than one occasion. The first incident occurred in September 1992, not long after he completed his prison and probation sentence.

At least four of the victims were around or under the age of 12 .Others were in their teens. The attacks continued until July 2010.

"People are scared," Everett Little Whiteman, a former Bureau of Indian Affairs officer who worked on the reservation during the period in question.

Gatewood faces charges for a total of 23 incidents. But he may not be the only person on the reservation who has been assaulting girls and women -- other cases have fallen apart due to lack of evidence.

Get the Story:
New light on Fort Apache Reservation rapes (The Arizona Republic 5/31)