Twin Falls Prosecutor: Juvenile Criminal Law Protects Identity Of Defendants And Victims

Jun 22, 2016

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says it’s his ethical duty to not sensationalize an active criminal case, and that information on juvenile cases is even more sensitive. But after anti-Muslim conspiracy websites accused officials of covering up the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl, Loebs is publicly disputing these accusations.

Twin Falls County courthouse.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Loebs can’t say much about the alleged sexual assault of a girl by three young boys. That’s because the documents in the case have been sealed by a judge, which is customary in cases involving sexual assault and young people, which is governed by juvenile law.

But what he can say is that the boys are not from Syria and that the attack was not a gang rape at knife point. Both have been rumored online. The prosecutor says he's felt compelled to respond this week because anti-refugee activists have sensationalized the case. Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury confirmed Monday two boys were taken into custody and booked into the Snake River Juvenile Detention Center.

“Where they’re from doesn’t matter at all to me," says Loebs. "I prosecute them the same whether they’re Americans or whether they’re from a foreign country. They’re in this country now. And so they’re susceptible to this country’s laws and Idaho’s laws.”

Loebs says once charges are made in juvenile case, the information is not available to the public like it is in other criminal cases. He says juvenile law protects the victim and the victim’s family, as well as the young defendants. If the case goes to trial, information will likely remain sealed.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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