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Man headed to prison as feds in Utah focus on sexual abuse on Native American reservations

SALT LAKE CITY — An Aneth man is headed to prison for sexual abuse as part of the U.S. Attorney's Office of Utah's efforts to expand its focus on the exploitation of women and children on Native American reservations.

Jason Lamour Keith, 33, a member of the Navajo Nation, pleaded guilty in federal court this week to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse. The abuse started when the victim was a teenager and continued over a nine-year period from August 2001 to June 2010.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson sentenced Keith to seven years in prison.

The incidents came to the attention of police in June 2010 when the victim went to a hospital and reported an assault. The Blanding Police Department responded to the hospital and then notified FBI special agents who continued the investigation.

The prosecution of Keith is a part of continuing efforts by federal agents to focus attention on the exploitation of children and sexual abuse of women on Indian reservations, U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen said in a statement.

“There are several risk factors that combine to magnify the impact and occurrence of sexual abuse in tribal communities, such as geographical isolation, unemployment, substance abuse and poverty," she said. "While we can’t solve all of these issues, we are working with tribal leaders to identify steps that can be taken to reduce the incidences of child exploitation and sexual abuse.”

Dennis Romboy, Twitter: dennisromboy