The FBI requested an arrest warrant this week for a former employee at a small Navajo school who allegedly tried to sexually assault an eighth-grade student in 2016.
Cory Bahe Chischillie, a Navajo, worked at the Leupp School in rural Leupp as a cook and sports referee when the crime took place.
The former employee, who was 22 at the time of the October 5, 2016, incident, at first denied anything happened between him and the student, according to a complaint filed by the FBI on Wednesday.
But he confessed to an agent later that key parts of the girl's story were true, and that he "felt her up" in a bathroom.
U.S. Marshal David Gonzales confirmed that authorities have not yet arrested Chischillie, who's been charged with kidnapping and assaulting a minor under age 16.
Leupp School is one of three schools that serve the town of about 1,000; it takes in students from kindergarten to high school and includes dormitories where some students live.
The girl — identified only as Jane Doe in the complaint — told authorities that Chischillie called her by name and invited her to come into the cafeteria on the evening of October 5 while she was walking to her dorm room. He didn't say anything as he led her through the dark cafeteria to a bathroom, although she kept telling him that staff would be looking for and she had to get back to her dorm.
In the bathroom, he lifted her onto a sink, unbuttoned her skinny jeans several times and tried to push them down. Each time she'd protest and button them back up, she reported. Someone said her name on the school intercom — she had been correct about people looking for her.
"Let me put it in you for five or 10 seconds," he said, according to Doe. At one point she broke away from him and ran away, but he caught up to her, "grabbed her waist from behind and turned her around."
Finally, she got away from him and, crying, told a staff member what had happened. He'd never touched her, she said, estimating they were in the bathroom together for about a half-hour.
The FBI interviewed Chischillie on February 23. He recalled that after officiating a volleyball game and cleaning the cafeteria, he saw the girl run by and heard her name on the intercom. The next day, school officials would not let him return to work, he said.
Chischillie told the agent that the girl had a reputation around the school as being "flirty" and that she'd once been caught smoking marijuana. She sometimes told him he was "cute" and was "friendlier towards him than he thought she should be." He denied repeatedly that he'd let her into the cafeteria or tried to assault her. He said he had no idea how the tag to her pants ended up being found in the cafeteria.
Two weeks later, Chischillie sung a different tune when re-interviewed by agents. Yes, he'd brought the girl into the cafeteria, but not the bathroom, and it was just to talk, he told them. Then he admitted that wasn't the whole truth, either.
"Cory agreed that maybe he had misread a signal that Jane Doe had given him," the complaint states. "Cory admitted that he took Jane Doe to the bathroom and 'felt her up' a little bit."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He further confessed that he'd been sexually aroused at the time, but continued to deny that he unbuttoned the girl's pants.
Officials at Leupp School declined to comment on Thursday. The principal, who the school did not want to name, didn't return a message.
Chischillie couldn't be reached for a comment. His Facebook page states that he works for the Little Colorado Medical Center; a woman who answered the phone there said Chischillie is no longer employed at the center.
(UPDATE: On January 24, 2018, Chischille pleaded guilty to assault on a child under 16 years of age and was sentenced to three years' supervised probation.)