The prosecutor in a case involving refugee boys, who allegedly molested a young girl in Idaho, is going to extraordinary lengths to downplay the seriousness of the crime and speak out in defense of the perpetrators.
In other words, Grant Loebs isn’t sounding much like a prosecutor at all, says an attorney now working for the family of the 5-year-old victim, and he should not be allowed to continue on the case.
To counter the narrative crafted by Loebs – basically that their daughter was not raped and that some unknown and lesser form of sexual assault took place by a single boy – the family of the little girl has hired a new lawyer who is firing back at Loebs.
Mark Guerry may be one of the few lawyers in Twin Falls who is not afraid to criticize Loebs’s handling of a sensitive case involving Muslim refugees that has split this community in half. Guerry ran against Loebs for the prosecutor’s post in the last election. But he says that’s in the past, and his efforts to take up the cause of the victim’s family has nothing to do with politics. In fact, he says, he won’t be running again for prosecutor.
Guerry said he was hired not only to represent the family’s legal interests but to counter the false narrative being spun by Loebs in the courts of public opinion.
He is calling on Loebs to resign or be recalled and disbarred from practicing law in Idaho, citing his “unprofessional and unethical” conduct.
Last Wednesday, Loebs went on KBOI 670 Radio in Boise for the sole purpose of talking down the seriousness of the assault on a special-needs girl by refugees from Sudan and Iraq in the laundry room of the apartment complex where the little girl lives with her family. The incident occurred on June 2 and hit the conservative media about two weeks later amid charges of a cover-up by local authorities in Twin Falls.
Loebs stressed in the latest round of interviews that he was “just playing by the rules” and that “truth is not a cover-up, just reality.” He has said there was no weapon involved in the crime, no gang rape, and the whole crime amounted to a “mostly false” news story pushed by “anti-Muslim” activists and websites.
He also told KBOI that the alleged perpetrators’ status as refugees was “unconfirmed.” The Sudanese boys charged in the assault are aged 10 and 14 while the Iraqi boy is 7.
Surely, Guerry says, a county prosecutor with Loebs’ years of experience should be able to find out, more than two months after the crime, exactly how the three boys entered the country. If he wanted to. The fact that he has not done so almost guarantees the boys are indeed refugees. But he said this fact doesn’t fit the narrative of the Twin Falls political hierarchy, which is heavily invested in the continued influx of refugees to work in area factories such as Chobani.
The refugees are resettled in Twin Falls by the College of Southern Idaho, which works under a contractual relationship with the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, or USCRI, one of nine major private agencies that get paid with federal tax dollars to secretly place refugees into more than 300 U.S. cities and towns in 49 states. Roughly half of the 85,000 refugees who arrive in the U.S. this year will be Muslim, more than any other single religious affiliation, according to Pew Research Center.
Gerry is now saying Loebs has committed the ultimate sin of a prosecutor – failing to “zealously protect the interests of the victim,” and thus should not be allowed to continue on the case.
“He goes on KBOI and is playing this ‘I just play by the rules’ spin. He himself is the one who has violated all the rules of professional conduct and confidentiality and his duty to zealously protect the victim,” Guerry said. “He’s abdicated that whole responsibility. From the very beginning of the case, he’s been saying there’s no gang rape, no knife, no tardiness by the police in their response to the crime scene.”
Loebs also appeared on KIDO 580 Radio in Boise “to make sure everyone in Idaho knows how to think about this case,” Guerry said.
Guerry said the little victim was penetrated by at least one of the boys in at least one way, possibly more. Her parents told WND in an earlier article that their daughter told them she was threatened with a knife and had a deep scratch on her neck. The fact that police didn’t find a knife at the crime scene when they allegedly responded at least two hours later does not rule out that a knife was used to quickly force the girl inside the laundry room, Guerry said.
The girl had been playing outside with her mother when her mother, who is on medication for a liver disease, ran inside to use the bathroom. Within three minutes, she said she was back outside and her daughter was gone.
The judge in the case has exercised his option to seal all records from public view and issue a gag order on the families involved, but that hasn’t stopped Loebs from talking about it publicly, Guerry told WND.
“This prosecutor is the one who’s made a public spectacle of this case, talked about now nothing much happened. And he’s spent a good chunk of his time on this case ignoring, minimizing and degrading my client, and done his best to prevent this little girl from getting justice,” Guerry said. “All he’s done is push them aside, and I think he’s violated the rules of his oath and of professional conduct. I think he should be recalled and disbarred … for violating his duties of confidentiality in this case and for not zealously representing the victim, the little girl.”
Typically prosecutors, when they speak publicly about a case, will doggedly push out a message that the perpetrators need to be punished to the full extent of the law, but Loebs has taken the opposite approach. The boys are juveniles, but the oldest boy, at 14, was seen by witnesses coaching the two others and is old enough to be held to full account for his actions. Teens in the age range of 14 to 15 are often tried as adults for serious crimes involving sexual offenses.
“His public statements sound as though they represent the defendants, ignore the victim and take the side of the defendants,” Guerry said. “If that’s what you believe, then you don’t file the case to begin with.
“He’s taken a bizarre route and tried to manipulate this narrative into something that he wants, that covers everything up, but he’s not going to succeed. I’m going to lay out why he’s violating the rules of professional conduct and his own oath to represent the victim zealously, regardless of personal cost. He just wants to protect the refugee community so they can work at Chobani and so College of Southern Idaho can continue to get the refugee money.”
The controversy has also turned ugly at the city council level.
“One of the city council members, Greg Lanting, got on Facebook over the weekend and criticized the family. He said this is a sealed case, and then, in the next sentence, says this little girl was never penetrated. The height of dishonestly,” Guerry said.
Back in June, another councilman insulted those who claimed a cover-up was in progress as merely “white supremacists” who were against refugees.
And the Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for Idaho, Wendy Olson, inserted herself into the case, saying any Idahoan who issued false, threatening or “inflammatory” statements about the Muslim perpetrators risked prosecution. She later walked back the comments after being roundly rebuked by a number of legal scholars who said there was no federal law against “inflammatory” speech.
“They’re talking, they’re lying, and he’s violating the rules and the confidentiality in a sealed case, so we don’t have much choice but to hit back,” Guerry said. “He said it early on that there was no actual rape or penetration but my client, when I met with them last week, I was pretty stunned to hear it. They said she was penetrated.”
Guerry said that statement from the parents was based on talking to their daughter as their primary source. The girl’s father also watched the video of the incident seized from the 14-year-old’s phone.
“The little boy is coming up to her from behind, and the father said he couldn’t watch it anymore and had to stop,” Guerry explained. “They have a right to have her side heard. All it’s been is ‘nothing happened, nothing happened. This was just a case of kids playing doctor.'”
Guerry said Loebs is counting on the fact that interest in the case will eventually wane.
“And by that time, they think they’re going to spin the narrative and outwait everyone else; they’re gonna minimize this thing and stall it out,” Guerry said. “So now he’s definitely working hard to get this thing to go completely off the radar. By the time this judge’s ruling is given and the seal is lifted, nobody will care. Then the facts can trickle out.”
That’s if the seal is ever lifted.
“The fact of the matter is the case could remain sealed indefinitely. Loebs said [in the KBOI interview] that after this is all over and done, the parents might be able to discuss in public what happened. He’s trying to sound like he’s this big defender of confidentiality when, in reality, he’s blown that to bits. But I think he and his deputy prosecutor are going to continue to try and spin this thing and get their narrative out.”