BOISE, Idaho — The suspects accused of gang-raping an 18-year-old woman in Kuna last month have been indicted by a grand jury on rape charges.
The indictments against 19-year-old Elias Lupango, 18-year-old Rashidi Mulanga, 18-year-old Swedi Iyombelo and a 16-year-old boy came down Tuesday, automatically propelling their case to the district court level.
In a brief court appearance Wednesday morning, Judge David Manweiler explained to the three adult suspects that the indictments meant they were no longer entitled to their scheduled preliminary hearing. Instead, they will next appear in front of District Judge Michael Reardon on March 22.
Lupango, Mulanga and Iyombelo have been held in the Ada County Jail since their arrests in February.
The alleged sexual assault happened Feb. 7 in a neighborhood in Kuna. According to prosecutors, the victim had talked with Iyombelo over Snapchat, then agreed to meet up with him.
When she arrived, the woman told police, Iyombelo and the 16-year-old suspect climbed into her car and she and Iyombelo began having consensual sex. During the encounter, she told him to stop, but Iyombelo continued to have sex with her, the woman said.
The victim told police that the 16-year-old, Lupango and Mulanga then took turns having sex with her, even though she told them to stop.
Prosecutors say that two of the suspects admitted after their arrest that the victim had not given them permission to have sex with her.
The suspects have denied raping the woman. According to a defense attorney, the defendants say they had agreed to pay the 18-year-old to have sex with all four of them.
The men are expected to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at their upcoming arraignment. Rape carries a sentence of up to life in prison.