BOISE -- U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho Wendy Olson weighed in Friday on a reported sexual assault in Twin Falls involving a 5-year-old girl that has sparked uproar across Idaho and beyond.
Olson said she supports the 5-year-old victim, and urges the community to remain calm and pay attention to the facts of the case, rather than the rumors and false reports that are swirling around it.
The assault case centers on a 5-year-old girl who was reportedly sexually assaulted by another child in the laundry room of the Fawnbrook Apartments on June 2.
Twin Falls Prosecutor Grant Loebs said the three boys ages 14,10 and 7 were involved, although only one of the children had any physical contact with the girl. The two older boys are facing charges in juvenile court. The families of the children accused in the assault have also been evicted from Fawnbrook Apartments.
Twin Falls authorities say misinformation about the case has been circulating on social media and online. Among the false reports were assertions that the boys involved were Syrian refugees, that they gang-raped the five-year-old, that they were armed with a knife, or that a parent of one of the children "high-fived" or congratulated them on the sexual assault.
On the contrary, according to Loebs and Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury, there was no knife, gang rape or evidence of congratulations. The youngest boy is of Iraqi descent, and the two oldest are Sudanese, Loebs said. Kingsbury said all three have been in the United States for less than two years, but wasn't certain of their refugee status.
Olson urged the public to avoid spreading incorrect information as the case moves throught the juvenile justice system.
"Grant Loebs is an experienced prosecutor, and Chief Craig Kingsbury is an experienced law enforcement officer. They are moving fairly and thoughtfully in this case," she said in a statement. "As Mr. Loebs and Chief Kingsbury informed the public, the subjects in this case are juveniles, ages 14, 10 and 7. The criminal justice system, whether at the state or federal level, requires that juveniles be afforded a specific process with significant restrictions on the information that can be released. The fact that the subjects are juveniles in no way lessens the harm to or impact on the victim and her family. The spread of false information or inflammatory or threatening statements about the perpetrators or the crime itself reduces public safety and may violate federal law. We have seen time and again that the spread of falsehoods about refugees divides our communities. I urge all citizens and residents to allow Mr. Loebs and Chief Kingsbury and their teams to do their jobs."