Perps ‘still attend Idaho public school and live with families’
Fawnbrook Apartments in Twin Falls is a low-income complex where a 5-year-old special-needs girl was sexually assaulted by refugee boys from Iraq and Sudan on June 2, 2016.
The case of an alleged sexual assault by Muslim refugee boys against a 5-year-old special-needs girl is making its way slowly through the Idaho court system, and the parents tell WND that justice is long overdue.
Lacy Peterson and her husband, Levi, have endured nearly 10 months of public shaming and lies told against their family. Even county prosecutor Grant Loebs has used local media to downplay the savagery of what happened to their little girl last June. That’s when two boys from Iraq stripped the girl naked and molested her while the third boy, from Sudan, filmed the incident.
If it had not been for an alert elderly resident of the low-income apartment complex, there is no telling how much worse the assault would have been.
What never could have been anticipated, however, is the way the family and its supporters have been held up to public ridicule by powerful refugee supporters in Idaho and nationwide. City councilmen, the county prosecutor, police chief and even a retired state Supreme Court justice have all taken turns trashing the conservative media that simply reported on the assault as well as those who have come to the aid of the family.
“We have been treated horribly,” Lacy Peterson said. “The way I feel, our case has been pushed under the rug and soon to be forgotten about. Since June we moved into a house that we can hardly even afford. We were totally fine in the apartments until now.
“I don’t think it’s fair that us Americans get to struggle and work hard and live paycheck-to-paycheck and pray to make bills,” she continued. “And the refugees get to have everything handed to them.”
Lacy suffers from a liver disorder and cannot work. Her husband is a cook at a local hotel. They are raising funds through a GoFundMe account to help with medical and legal bills. They’ve hired a local attorney to represent them in a possible civil suit, but that suit can’t be filed until the criminal case is resolved.
The incident, which happened June 2, 2016, at Fawnbrook Apartments, was witnessed by Jolene Payne, an 89-year-old retired nurse who told WND she saw a 14-year-old boy from Sudan filming the assault in progress inside the laundry room. Two other boys, ages 7 and 10 from Iraq, were inside the room with the little girl, all three with their clothes off, while the older boy shot video.
According to the family, that video showed at least one of the Iraqi boys making contact with the girl’s backside with his exposed genitals. The boys also urinated on the girl and in her mouth, according to the witness and victim accounts.
A pre-trial hearing has been set for Monday, March 27.
The trial has been delayed twice and is now set for April 4-6.
A civil suit against the refugee family and possibly the College of Southern Idaho is also being prepared. CSI gets paid a very nice sum as a contractor to resettle refugees into the Twin Falls area, including those from Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The case has sharply divided the community, with many people organizing against ongoing refugee resettlement in the wake of the attack. Those who wanted to continue bringing in more refugees held counter-protests calling the anti-refugee groups racists. One Twin Falls city councilman, Chris Talkington, went so far as to brand the concerned citizens “white supremacists.”
Shawn Barigar, the mayor of Twin Falls, also came to the defense of the refugees, giving an extended lecture to residents at a city council meeting, warning them against spreading false information.
Julie DeWolfe, a local activist and friend of the family, said the perpetrators have been treated with more kindness and concern than the victim, a special-needs girl from a poor family.
“The rapists still attend public school with the community’s children and live at home with their families,” she said.
“At this point, there is no justice for Jayla. There are fewer people fighting for her because refugee biased political figures have buried the issue, deceived the people through inaccurate statements, and postponed proceedings,” DeWolfe added.
A March 27 court hearing will determine “if this case gets resolved or proceeding to trial,” said Mark Guerry, the attorney representing the family in potential civil proceedings.
“The cynical side of me suspects nobody is anxious to resolve this case or for this case to get back on the public radar and media radar, because they know they are going to have to endure a lot of questions and local interest, and especially with the dissatisfaction when my clients, the parents, and all their supporters who have supported Levi and Lacy from the beginning,” Guerry said. “They are the ones who have pushed hard for prosecutions. They’ve been there and done everything they could to get their side of the case out.”
Guerry said he suspects the local prosecutor, Grant Loebs, “would really wish this case would fall below the radar and stay there. The Twin Falls officials and he in particular have not liked the intense scrutiny that has been given this case, and he has said from the beginning that the victim’s family and their supporters have really exaggerated what happened.”
Loebs has been quoted in the local Times-News and other publications saying the victim’s network of supporters “are not constrained by the truth.”
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs has been on a media blitz that some say borders on a propaganda campaign.
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs has been on a media blitz that some say borders on a propaganda campaign in support of refugees.
The case drew national media attention after WND broke open the story with new information directly from the eyewitness.
A New York Times reporter is reportedly in Twin Falls this week questioning both sides in the controversy.
Loebs and others seized upon initial reports by bloggers last summer that made minor mistakes in their reporting – they called the refugee boys “Syrian” instead of Sudanese and Iraqi and said they “gang-raped the girl at knife point.”
No knife was found at the scene, although the little girl did tell her parents that a knife was used to threaten her.
Even with video evidence, ‘Many people don’t even believe it happened’
Loebs was quoted in the left-leaning Raw Story downplaying the crime in a story headlined “Idaho prosecutor: ‘Anti-Muslim bigots made up shocking gang-rape story to smear Syrian refugees.”
“Because of the statements that the rape is a false claim, many people don’t even believe it happened,” DeWolfe said.
“So it’s a verbose way of calling them liars,” Guerry added. “That’s been the maddening part of this case is the media has continued to say this is not what happened, that it’s just Julie’s group, and by association the parents, who said it was. This wasn’t a gang rape, they were not from Syria. But so what? They were from Sudan and Iraq, and a witness found the girl naked and there was genital-anal contact. I think everyone with common decency knows that’s outrageous. So from the beginning, they’re more eager to protect the perpetrators than the victims.
“Loebs, the newspapers, everyone has tried to downplay what these boys did because they are refugees. If you go back and look at the Times-News stories and KILX Radio reports, they’re all just towing the line and repeating what Loebs says and what Police Chief Kingsbury says, the city council members, and what some of the pillars of the community are saying while leaving the little girl out to dry.”
To top it off, a retired liberal chief justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, Jim Jones, came to a Twin Falls Rotary meeting in January and chastised the people opposing the College of Southern Idaho, which has been resettling refugees in the area for more than a decade. Jones “urged empathy for refugees” while accusing WND and Breitbart News of pushing a false narrative that whipped up public hysteria about the sexual assault without giving any specifics of what was false.
“He trashed and browbeat everyone who challenged that refugee center for having a negative effect on business in Twin Falls,” Guerry said. “I don’t care if he is a former Supreme Court justice, what the hell does he know about this case? He didn’t know anything about this case. My read on it is the local Republican Party has become just so corrupt and does whatever the prosecutor and other local muckety mucks tell them to do. I think they brought Jones down for the very purpose of trying to kill this story and brow beat and shame people and guilt them for standing up to the refugee center. And it’s all about the dollar for Chobani and others, just wagging their finger at anyone who opposes the refugee center and trying to make them feel guilty and ashamed for harming local business.”
Follow the money:
Chobani facility in Twin Falls, Idaho uses refugee labor for 30 percent of its work force and has the full backing of city, state and county officials.
“I’m all for skilled workers to help local biz but for a former judge to come down and shame people for expressing their opinions, that’s disgusting,” Guerry said. “They all have the same story line they want to put out there, and they figure if they tell a lie long enough it becomes the truth, and it’s just pathetic.”