The case of an alleged sexual assault by Muslim refugee boys against a 5-year-old special-needs girl is making its way slowly through the Idaho court system, and the parents tell WND that justice is long overdue.
Lacy Peterson and her husband, Levi, have endured nearly 10 months of public shaming and lies told against their family. Even county prosecutor Grant Loebs has used local media to downplay the savagery of what happened to their little girl last June. That’s when two boys from Iraq stripped the girl naked and molested her while the third boy, from Sudan, filmed the incident, WND reports.
If it had not been for an alert elderly resident of the low-income apartment complex, there is no telling how much worse the assault may have been.
What never could have been anticipated, however, is the way the family and its supporters have been held up to public ridicule by powerful refugee supporters in Idaho and nationwide. City councilmen, the county prosecutor, police chief and even a retired state Supreme Court justice have all taken turns trashing the conservative media that reported on the assault as well as those who have come to the aid of the family.
“We have been treated horribly,” Lacy Peterson said. “The way I feel, our case has been pushed under the rug and soon to be forgotten about. Since June we moved into a house that we can hardly even afford. We were totally fine in the apartments until now.
The incident, which happened June 2, 2016, at Fawnbrook Apartments, was witnessed by Jolene Payne, an 89-year-old retired nurse who told WND she saw a 14-year-old boy from Sudan filming the assault in progress inside the laundry room. Two other boys, ages 7 and 10 from Iraq, were inside the room with the little girl, all three with their clothes off, while the older boy shot video.
According to the family, that video showed at least one of the Iraqi boys making contact with the girl’s backside with his exposed genitals. The boys also urinated on the girl and in her mouth, according to the witness and victim accounts.
A pre-trial hearing has been set for Monday, March 27.
The trial has been delayed twice and is now set for April 4-6.
A civil suit against the refugee family and possibly the College of Southern Idaho is also being prepared. CSI gets paid as a contractor to resettle refugees into the Twin Falls area, including those from Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Community divided over refugees
The case has sharply divided the community, with many people organizing against ongoing refugee resettlement in the wake of the attack. Those who wanted to continue bringing in more refugees held counter-protests calling the anti-refugee groups racists. One Twin Falls city councilman, Chris Talkington, went so far as to brand the concerned citizens “white supremacists.”
Shawn Barigar, the mayor of Twin Falls, also came to the defense of the refugees, giving an extended lecture to residents at a city council meeting, warning them against spreading false information.
‘No justice for Jayla’
Julie DeWolfe, a local activist and friend of the family, said the perpetrators have been treated with more kindness and concern than the victim, a special-needs girl from a poor family.
“The rapists still attend public school with the community’s children and live at home with their families,” she said.
“At this point, there is no justice for Jayla. There are fewer people fighting for her because refugee biased political figures have buried the issue, deceived the people through inaccurate statements, and postponed proceedings,” DeWolfe added.
A March 27 court hearing will determine “if this case gets resolved or proceeding to trial,” said Mark Guerry, the attorney representing the family in potential civil proceedings.