Law | National

Paper on trial for stories linking ex-mayor to rape of Pueblo girl

The Gallup Independent is being sued for defamation and libel for publishing stories that linked the former mayor of Gallup, New Mexico, to the sexual assault of a Zuni Pueblo girl in 1948.

Harry Mendoza has acknowledged he was 15 years old when he arrested in connection with the rape of the 16-year-old girl, who was a student at Santa Fe Indian School. Although five other males were convicted for the crime, he was never tried for reasons that have gone unexplained to this day.

The Independent has published numerous stories and editorials about Mendoza and his alleged role in the crime since 1949. Mendoza claims publisher Bob Zollinger has a vendetta against him.

The trial is expected to last all week, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

Get the Story:
Libel Case In Gallup Starts (The Albuquerque Journal 6/27)

Related Stories:
Paper gets 1948 arrest log of border town mayor (2/19)
Border city mayor denies role in 1948 rape of Zuni girl (1/26)
Mayor was charged with 1948 rape of Native girl (6/25)

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