RUPERT — A Minidoka County judge bound Lauriano “Larry” Vega Jr. over to district court May 9 on one felony count of child sexual abuse by soliciting a minor under age 16 after he found sufficient evidence to support the charge.
Vega, 18, is a senior at Minico High School and formerly played football and basketball for the school.
He was brought into the courtroom with his hands and feet shackled.
Minidoka County Prosecutor Lance Stevenson asked the judge to dismiss, without prejudice, a second count of the same charge.
Vega also faces a third misdemeanor charge of battery, police say, which stems from unwanted touching of an 18-year-old woman on the same day.
Stevenson said the state is not required to present evidence at a preliminary hearing regarding misdemeanor charges.
A 14-year-old girl took the witness stand Wednesday. The eighth grader told the judge that she worked at a local coffee house that Vega had frequented several times during the week of spring break.
At the time of Vega’s arrest, according to court records, he was being monitored by a GPS ankle bracelet because of similar charges pending in juvenile court.
The girl periodically wiped her eyes and nose as she told the court that on March 30, after she finished her shift, she went out behind the coffee bar with Vega and other individuals, where there is a fire pit.
The girl had previously told Vega how old she was when someone made the comment that she was the girl for him. She said someone had told her Vega was 18 and she was aware that he played football.
At one point during the testimony, she started to cry, and Stevenson asked her why she was crying.
“I’m nervous,” she said.
Minidoka County Magistrate Judge Rick Bollar called a short recess so the girl could recompose herself.
When she returned to the courtroom she said Vega had started rubbing her leg near her ankle while they were outside and then “massaging” her upper thigh.
It was dark outside with only a few candles lit.
She moved farther away from him, and a few minutes later went inside to see when her ride would be leaving.
When the 14-year-old got up to leave Vega, tried to grab her buttocks but grabbed her thigh and the bottom of her buttocks, she said.
When the group was leaving the shop, Vega again grabbed her buttocks, she said.
The girl said one of the males with Vega that night at the coffee house told her mother what happened to her that night.
Her mother asked her about it the next day, she said.
A Rupert Police Department detective was also called to the witness stand and Stacey DePew, Vega’s attorney cross examined both witnesses.
Vega was the 4A All-Idaho football player of the year in 2017.