RUPERT — Former Minico High School athlete Lauriano “Larry” Vega Jr. was arrested at his school in Heyburn April 5 on felony charges of child sex crimes.
According to court records, at the time of Vega’s arrest, he was being monitored by a GPS ankle bracelet because of similar charges pending in juvenile court. The new charges stem from incidents that court records say occurred from March 27 to 30.
Vega, 18, is a senior and formerly played football and basketball at Minico.
He is charged with two counts of child sexual abuse on suspicion of soliciting minors under the age of 16 to participate in sex acts and a count of misdemeanor battery.
Police said a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old said Vega made unwanted sexual advances toward them. The officer said he was familiar with Vega from a recent sex abuse case that he helped investigate.
According to court documents, the battery charge stems from unwanted touching of an 18-year-old woman. She was with the teen girls on March 27, and said she and Vega began flirting. She told police that when she went outside, Vega approached her and without provocation, he grabbed her around the waist and forcibly kissed her. She said she briefly kissed him back but when she realized what was happening she backed away from him and he attempted to kiss her again. Vega asked if she wanted to have sex with him and when she said no, he told her he’d never been told no before, court records said.
The 14-year-old girl told police she was playing cards at a table at a business on March 30 when Vega sat beside her. The girl said she told Vega her age, but he propositioned her for a sex act and rubbed and grabbed her thighs underneath the table, court records said. She said when she moved away from him, Vega would move close to her again. When she stood up to leave, she told police, Vega grabbed at her buttocks but missed and grabbed the back of her thigh. The girl said when they all went outside the business to a fire pit, Vega grabbed her buttocks when she walked by him.
Police spoke to the 13-year-old girl at school, and she said Vega had also propositioned her for a sex act on March 30.
Police reviewed Vega’s GPS monitor, which showed he was at or near the business at the times and dates the girls said he was there.
After he was arrested, police said Vega admitted to police that he kissed the woman, and said he shouldn’t have done it. He denied propositioning the two minors for sex and denied touching the 14-year-old.
Minico athletic director and boys basketball coach Ty Shippen said he had no knowledge of any abuse charges made against Vega before Vega was arrested in December on previous charges. Former Minico football coach Tim Perrigot also said the arrest was the first time he heard about Vega’s charges.
Vega was the 4A Great Basin Conference Football Player of the Year in 2017.