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Idaho Falls man pleads guilty to rape of teenage girl

Crime Watch

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Baltazar L. Guzman-Lara | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man who had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl he supervised at a local restaurant pleaded guilty to rape Tuesday.

Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Baltazar L. Guzman-Lara with felony rape of a 16-year-old girl because a minor cannot legally consent to sex with an adult. Tuesday’s guilty plea came with an agreement made with prosecutors to recommend Guzman-Lara be placed on a rider program.

The plea agreement is non-binding on the court meaning the judge doesn’t have to accept the recommendation of a retained jurisdiction or rider. The agreement also stipulates that even if the judge does not accept the recommendation, Guzman-Lara cannot withdraw his guilty plea.

Rider programs are where inmates receive intensive programming and education in hopes of rehabilitation over the course of six months or a year. Once a felon has completed the program in prison, they go before a judge. At that time, the judge decides whether to release the felon and put them on probation, or send them back to prison to complete their sentence.

According to court documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, Guzman-Lara and the victim would jokingly talk about getting married and having kids. The relationship turned sexual when the two kissed while closing the restaurant. He eventually told the teenager he would leave his wife for her, documents show.

The victim and Guzman-Lara had sex a number of times at various places, including Guzman-Lara’s home and a local hotel. The last sexual encounter was Feb. 19, 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.

Guzman-Lara is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 23, 2020 at the Bonneville County Courthouse. He will likely have to register as a sex offender.

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