Boys Accused of Sexual Assault of Twin Falls 5-Year-Old Plead Guilty

Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesman, April 4, 2017

Three boys have pleaded guilty to felonies in a case that drew national attention and involved a 5-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted on June 2 in Twin Falls.

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“We agreed to the plea bargains. That by no means implies my clients were, or are, fully satisfied with the outcome of these cases or the prosecuting attorney,” Mark Guerry, the attorney representing the victim’s family, said in emails to the Idaho Statesman.

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Few details of the attack have been available because the juvenile court records are sealed — standard practice in Idaho.

Throughout June, rumors of the incident grew into a tale of Syrian refugees raping the 5-year-old at knifepoint, then sharing video of the attack with a parent, who celebrated with the boys.

Prosecutors and police said a sexual assault did occur, but many of the details — the knife, that it was a rape, sharing the video, even the defendants’ ethnicities — were wrong.

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Three boys, ages 7, 10 and 14, were detained. The youngest boy is from Iraq, while the older two, brothers, are from Eritrea, an African nation. They were previously described as being from Sudan; their family passed through Sudanese refugee camps, Slate reported last year.

The youngest boy was alleged to have touched the girl. The older boys were accused of using a cellphone to record a video of the incident, which took place in a laundry room at the Fawnbrook Apartments.

Tuesday’s news release did not specify which boys ended up pleading to which charges, and the defendants’ names have not been released — again, because of how juvenile cases are handled in Idaho.

One boy pleaded guilty to felony sexual exploitation of a child and misdemeanor battery. Another pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting felony lewd conduct and aiding and abetting misdemeanor battery. The third pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the commission of a felony.

The three will be sentenced “at a later time,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

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