TWIN FALLS — The lawyer for the family of a 5-year-old who was sexually abused by three boys at a local apartment complex a year ago said Tuesday his clients were unhappy with the outcome of the case.
Mark Guerry told the Idaho Statesman his clients “are not satisfied with the final result of these proceedings.” However, he said he couldn’t go into more detail due to an order from 5th District Magistrate Judge Thomas Borresen sealing the case and ordering the lawyers involved not to talk about it.
Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs announced a plea deal in the case in April. At the time, Guerry said the family agreed to the plea bargains, but they were not “fully satisfied with the outcome of these cases or the prosecuting attorney.”
Loebs said Tuesday he couldn’t say anything new about the case or any scheduled proceedings. He declined to even confirm the boys had been sentenced.
“The judge has made it very clear that no comments about that can be made by anybody involved,” Loebs said.
Guerry ran against Loebs in the 2016 Republican primary and was reprimanded last month by the Idaho State Bar for, during the campaign, accusing District Judge Richard Bevan of helping Loebs cover up several drunken driving arrests. Loebs and Bevan denied this, and the State Bar said Guerry’s allegations were unfounded.
Guerry stopped communicating with the Times-News shortly after the paper broke the allegations.
Two of the boys involved in the Fawnbrook assault, aged 10 and 14, are from Eritrea, and one, age 7, is from Iraq. Loebs announced in April that one boy pleaded guilty to felony exploitation of a child and misdemeanor battery, while a second pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting felony lewd conduct and aiding and abetting misdemeanor battery. The third pleaded guilty to a charge of accessory to the commission of a felony.
Many of the initial reports on the case falsely said the boys were Syrian and contained disturbing details that police and prosecutors have said were not accurate. The attack happened months after a push to close down the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center failed to garner enough signatures for a ballot initiative and at a time when the influx of refugees from the Middle East into Europe had made the issue a topic of international debate. Limiting refugee resettlement and Muslim entry into the country, in particular banning Syrian refugees, was a frequent campaign message of now-President Donald Trump. City officials and others connected to the case received a number of death threats from the far-right.
The case brought months of national and even international news attention to Twin Falls, receiving extensive coverage from anti-Muslim and anti-refugee media, many of whom accused police, prosecutors, the City Council, local media and others of trying to cover up what happened. Juvenile cases are generally sealed, which limited what public officials could say about the case. Brigitte Gabriel, head of Act for America, came to Twin Falls to speak shortly after the attack, and Breitbart sent a reporter to Twin Falls to cover the case and refugee resettlement more generally.
Most recently, InfoWars founder Alex Jones had to apologize and retract some statements he had made linking the attack to Chobani after the yogurt maker sued him. The suit came just as the City Council passed a “neighborly community” resolution that was brought on largely by the debate over refugee resettlement, although the resolution doesn’t mention refugees specifically.