A Towaoc man was found guilty Thursday in federal court of two sex assault charges.
Ute Mountain Ute tribal member Wambli Mills, 23, used physical force to sexually assault an intoxicated friend at a relative’s house in Towaoc on Sept. 1, 2017, the court found after a four-day trial, a news release said.
The trial was before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn.
Mills was found guilty of one count of sexual abuse of an incapable victim and one count of aggravated sexual abuse related to the assault.
“Sexual violence on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation will not be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said in a written statement. “Our office is committed to prosecuting anyone who commits sexual assault within Indian Country.”
On the night of the attack, the victim escaped from Mills and ran crying through a field to the intersection of Mountain Sage Road and Sundance Dance, according to court documents.
Lt. Anthony Garcia, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was working on a drug investigation near the intersection and heard her screams before she appeared. She told Garcia she had been raped but did not know who had assaulted her. She didn’t have pants on at the time.
After calling for backup and an ambulance, Garcia heard a man yell an obscenity from the field. He said that he did not investigate because he was alone.
After the victim left in an ambulance, a tribal security officer pointed out a person was hiding in the field where the sounds had come from, documents stated.
Garcia arrested Mills, who was hiding in the field, for disorderly conduct and intoxication.
At a detention facility, officers found Mills was wearing a pair of women’s leggings around his neck, documents said.
When Mills changed into a detention jumpsuit, a pair of women’s underwear fell out of his waistband, documents said.
The leggings and the underwear belonged to the victim, according to the news release. Testing by the FBI showed the victim’s DNA was inside Mills’ underwear.
Mills faces a possible life term when he appears before Blackburn for sentencing Oct. 7 in Durango.
He also has been indicted in a case of attempted murder of a federal officer on April 8, 2018.
In that case, Mills and his brother Wendell Mills were arrested after fighting with a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer in Towaoc. The pair were arrested on probable cause for alleged assault with intent to commit murder in Indian Country, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Durango.
The BIA officer and Wendell Mills were shot during the scuffle, then treated at Southwest Memorial Hospital for leg wounds, said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin, who had deputies at the scene.