Prosecutor issues update in Fawnbrook case

Prosecutor issues update in Fawnbrook case

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TWIN FALLS — Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs issued a statement early Thursday in response to coverage by the “national alternative press” of an alleged sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl at the Fawnbrook Apartments in Twin Falls.

Loebs said investigators are continuing to gather new evidence and that the “nature and extent” of the charges against two boys involved may change as a result.

The boys, ages 10 and 14, are being prosecuted in juvenile court for their alleged role in the June 2 incident. The cases have been sealed and authorities have released few details other than those to refute claims made by anti-refugee and anti-Muslim blogs, namely that the assault was a rape committed by Syrian refugees. Locally, a small group of Twin Falls residents speaking at City Council meetings have accused authorities of a cover-up.

Conspiracy websites and far-right online media have taken a particular interest in the incident, using it to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment and make a case for halting refugee resettlement.

Several of those outlets have claimed the victim’s family continue to be harassed by the boys and that police are doing nothing to stop it. As the case has played out, local authorities have been bombarded by death threats and menacing emails and phone calls.

Loebs disputed claims of inaction in his statement Thursday, saying violations of no-contact orders issued in the case will be “investigated and prosecuted.”

The prosecutor also sought to quell allegations that authorities were being unresponsive to the victim’s family.

“The victim an her family continue to be served by Victim Services officials in the Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” Loebs said. “My office is in constant contact with the family and any and all questions they have are being answered and counseling and other services are being offered.”

Loebs also said his office has advised the family how to access information about the case as it plays out.

The statement comes one day after leaders in the anti-refugee movement announced they were coming to speak and rally in Twin Falls next month, and as state lawmakers in other parts of the state have taken an interest in the case.

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