Idaho Falls man charged with rape; teacher allegedly tells victim not to talk to police

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Baltazar Guzman-Lara | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl he supervised at a local restaurant, and a school teacher encouraged her to stop talking to detectives, according to court documents.

Because a minor cannot legally consent to sex with an adult, prosecutors charged 29-year-old Baltazar L. Guzman-Lara with rape of a 16-year-old. If convicted, he could spend up to life in prison.

The victim’s foster parents contacted the police on March 14 after becoming suspicious of a journal entry the girl wrote. The entry detailed a relationship the victim was in at the time and hinted that people would have concerns over it. The writings did not specify the name of the person the girl was in the relationship with, according to court documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

The victim told investigators Guzman-Lara was her manager at a local restaurant. She said they joked about getting married and having kids. She said she knew Guzman-Lara’s relationship with his wife, who also worked at the restaurant, was unstable.

The victim said she and Guzman-Lara became Snapchat friends in December and he allegedly asked her if she would marry him or if she was just joking.

“He told her that he wanted to marry her. He said that he would leave his wife. He told her that he was ‘100 percent in,'” according to documents.

The two allegedly began to talk about kissing and one night, while closing the restaurant, Guzman-Lara kissed her in the office. After the encounter, the victim and Guzman-Lara would meet up to kiss, court documents state.

The victim said the first time the two had sex was at Guzman-Lara’s apartment Jan. 11 when his wife was apparently at work. At some point, his wife walked into the apartment and tried opening the locked bedroom door. Guzman-Lara tried to help the girl sneak out a window, but his wife entered the room. Guzman-Lara allegedly said the two were just talking.

Guzman-Lara is accused of continuing to have sex with the victim in her car at different places around Idaho Falls. On Jan. 18, Guzman-Lara allegedly booked a room at the Destinations Inn, where he and the victim stayed the night. The last sexual encounter was Feb. 19, according to court documents.

When restaurant management learned about the sexual relationship, Guzman-Lara was fired, according to court documents.

Detectives contacted Guzman-Lara on March 25, and he initially denied having a relationship with the victim. But when confronted with the evidence and further information about the accusations made by the victim, he changed his story.

“I’m not going to lie to you. I have been with her,” Guzman-Lara told detectives. “I have been in her car. … Yeah, I’m not going to lie to you. We did have sex.”

Police collected DNA and bodily fluid samples that were found in the victim’s car.

When the victim’s phone was returned to her foster parents, the phone’s airplane mode was deactivated, revealing a message sent from Guzman-Lara asking to talk. A message was sent on that same day from a co-worker at the restaurant, who is also a local elementary school teacher with Bonneville Joint School District 93.

The sixth-grade teacher, whom EastIdahoNews.com is not identifying at this time because she has not been charged, allegedly encouraged the victim to stop reporting the sexual relationship with investigators.

“If i (sic) were in your shoes and I have been when I 13/14 I wouldn’t ruin (family members) lives in taking (him) for life,” the teacher said in the message, according to court documents. “I am so proud of you and your ambition with schooling and dueling credits. I would really reconsider going through with the PD (police).”

According to court documents, investigators spoke with the teacher and she admitted to sending the message as a favor to Guzman-Lara and his wife. The teacher said she spoke with Guzman-Lara’s wife, who devised the plan of what to send to the victim to get her to stop talking with police.

Bonneville Joint School District 93 spokesman Phil Campbell told EastIdahoNews.com the district is aware of their teacher and an internal investigation is being conducted. Details of that investigation are unavailable because this “employee-conduct issue,” Campbell said.

Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Clements said investigators are still looking into the teacher and possible criminal activity for allegedly telling the victim to stop talking to police.

Guzman-Lara was arrested and booked into the Bonneville County Jail. He has posted $30,000 bail and is scheduled for his next court appearance May 14.

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