Four Boise teenagers, including three refugees from Tanzania, were arrested on Thursday and Friday on suspicion of felony rape of an 18-year-old woman earlier this month.
Swedi Iyombelo and Mulanga Rashidi, both 18, and Elias Lupango, 19, appeared in court via video conference after being booked into Ada County Jail. A 16-year-old boy was arrested Friday morning and is being held in juvenile detention.
Because the 16-year-old is a juvenile, his name has not been released. It is unknown if the juvenile is also a refugee.
Deputies arrested Iyombelo and Rashidi near a fast-food restaurant in Kuna on Thursday morning. They arrested Lupango on Thursday afternoon in east Boise.
All three men used the assistance of an interpreter in court.
Iyombelo, Rashidi and Lupango are each from refugees from Tanzania, according to the public defender. Iyombelo has been in the United States five months while the other two have been in the United States for three years and recently were employed at McDonald’s.
Courtesy of KTVB
The criminal complaint, as read by Judge Russell Comstock, alleges that, on or around Feb. 7, the men had vaginal sex with the woman. The woman was “prevented from resistance due to an objectionable, reasonable belief that resistance would be futile or would result in violence,” according to the complaint.
Iyombelo allegedly reached out to the victim via social media to “hang out,” and sex was never discussed, according to the prosecutor. The victim then consented to sex with Iyombelo but then said no three times, the prosecutor said. The other men then took turns having sex with the victim despite her resistance, according to the prosecutor.
The victim said she felt like if she told them to stop, she was afraid they would kill her, the prosecutor said.
The victim later reached out to the suspects afterward, letting them know what happened was wrong, and the men apologized, the prosecutor said.
After the victim informed law enforcement, police took over the victim’s social media account, where it was agreed that the suspects would meet with the victim once again.
“Kuna Police began their investigation Feb. 8 after being contacted by a third party,” according to the sheriff’s office’s blog post. “The girl told investigators she was with Iyombelo, who she just recently met, the night before in a car in a Kuna neighborhood when he began to have sexual contact with her. A short time later, the three other teenage boys showed up. All four then forced themselves on the girl in the car.”
Detectives continued to investigate the case and develop evidence — including interviews — before arresting all four suspects.
Iyombelo, Rashidi, and Lupango said they did not have the means to afford a lawyer and were appointed a public defender.
Toward the end of the arraignment, the public defender said that the men were paying for sex, and that the case was “complicated” and should lead to a lowered bond.
The bond was set at $250,000 for each of the defendants; their lawyer said the could likely only afford a $2,000 bond. A no-contact order of one year was also placed between the defendants and the alleged victim.
A preliminary hearing for the case is set for Feb. 27.
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