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Man arrested for allegedly abusing 9-year-old girl years ago

Crime Watch

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Asuncion Fernando Garcia-Tapia | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — A man has been accused of abusing a young girl repeatedly when she was around 9 years old.

Asuncion Fernando Garcia-Tapia, 52, of Idaho Falls, was arrested Nov. 22, on one count of felony lewd conduct with a minor under 16. Garcia is accused of sexually touching a young girl repeatedly around six years ago. The now-15-year-old victim came forward about the alleged abuse after seeing Garcia at her birthday party.

According to court documents, the victim said Garcia allegedly watched her go to the bathroom, rubbed his body against hers, exposed himself in front of her, masturbated in front of her and touched her sexually.

She told investigators when she was in those situations, she was too afraid to leave because she thought he would get mad at her.

According to court documents, years before the victim told her family about what Garcia allegedly did to her, her family had some sort of falling out with Garcia, and his family so he was no longer able to be around the victim.

When the victim saw Garcia and his wife at her 15th birthday party, she told investigators that she felt uneasy and told her friends that she didn’t like that he was there.

Documents don’t indicate when the victim told her family what Garcia allegedly did, but Bonneville County Deputies were notified in May.

Documents say, investigators tried to set up a time to meet with Garcia but were only able to speak to him over the phone. He told them his attorney advised him not to speak to law enforcement. He also asked why the allegations were being brought up six years after they allegedly happened.

Investigators told Garcia that it is not uncommon for victims to not come forward right away.

EastIdahoNews.com was able to discover that Garcia has been a guest speaker at a local church on various occasions.

A warrant for Garcia’s arrest was issued on Nov. 20 and he was taken into custody just days later. He posted his $50,000 bond was released to pretrial services.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 6.

Lewd conduct with a minor under 16 carries a maximum punishment of up to life prison.

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