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Judge denies bond reduction requests for 3 teenagers accused of raping a Kuna woman


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Rashidi Mulanga, left, Swedi Iyombelo, center, and Elias Lupango, right, are accused of raping an 18-year-old woman on Feb. 8. A fourth suspect, a 16-year-old boy, was also arrested, but his name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Three of the Boise men accused of raping an 18-year-old woman in Kuna this month appeared in court Wednesday to discuss bond reductions, which were ultimately denied.

Ada County Magistrate Judge Daniel Steckel heard from the attorneys of Swedi Iyombelo and Mulanga Rashidi, both 18, and Elias Lupango, 19, for their preliminary hearings, which were postponed until March 13 to give attorneys more time to review evidence.

All three men are charged with felony rape. The criminal complaints allege that on Feb. 7, the men vaginally raped the woman in a parked car.

A 16-year-old boy is also charged on suspicion of raping the woman, but his name has not been released by authorities because he is a juvenile.

Lupango, Rashidi and Iyombelo were each represented by a different defense attorney, and all three requested bond reductions. Steckel denied the requests, keeping bond set at $250,000 each.

Iyombelo is accused of reaching out to the alleged victim via social media to “hang out,” and sex was never discussed, according to the prosecutor at Iyombelo’s initial appearance. The woman consented to sex with Iyombelo initially, but then said no three times, authorities previously said. The other men are accused of then taking turns raping her despite her resistance.

The alleged victim reportedly said that she felt like if she told them to stop, she was afraid they would kill her.

On Wednesday, Ada County deputy prosecutor Tanner Stellmon said in court that all of the defendants admitted in police interviews to having sexual contact with the woman.

All three men are living in Idaho as refugees from Tanzania. A translator was provided by the court for the men, whose native language is not English.

Upon conviction, the crime of rape is punishable by up to life in prison.

This article was originally published in the Idaho Statesman. It is used here with permission.