Joshua William Scheu, 37, of Willcox, Arizona, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgensen to 17 and half years in prison. Scheu previously pleaded guilty to two counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor.
In November 2004, Scheu pulled his vehicle over to the side of the road where the victim was waiting for some friends on the Gila River Indian Nation. Scheu then got out of his vehicle, chased the child, pushed her into a cornfield, and forcibly raped her. The case remained “cold” until 2019 when DNA led to the identification of Scheu as the perpetrator. The victim was an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Nation.
Upon release from prison, Scheu will be placed on lifetime supervised release with stringent sex offender conditions. He also will be required to register as a sex offender and to complete a sex offender treatment program.
“This case is another great example of the meaningful role that DNA testing has had in solving cold cases,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “We are grateful for the tenacity of our law enforcement partners in continuing to pursue cases until the offenders are brought to justice.”
“This sentencing should send a clear message to those who sexually harm innocent children in our community,” said Sean Kaul, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. “The FBI is committed to preventing violent crimes against children and to bring those who harm them to justice, no matter how long it takes. Thanks to the dedicated work from our agents and our law enforcement partners who aggressively pursue these heinous criminals, this individual will finally be held accountable for his actions.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.