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Idaho Falls man sentenced for rape of teenage co-worker

Crime Watch

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Baltazar L. Guzman-Lara | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man was sentenced for the rape of a teenage co-worker that a teacher allegedly told the victim not to report.

Baltazar L. Guzman-Lara, 30, engaged in a sexual relationship with the teenage girl he supervised at a local restaurant. Because a minor cannot legally consent to sex with an adult, prosecutors charged Guzman-Lara with the rape of a 16-year-old where the victim is three or more years younger. He pleaded guilty in December and was sentenced Thursday.

District Judge Bruce Pickett handed down the underlying two- to 15-year prison sentence but opted to retain jurisdiction and place him on a rider. A defendant on a rider program is placed in the appropriate facilities to receive intensive programming and education. Once offenders complete a rider, the court can either place them on probation or sentence them to incarceration for the remainder of their sentence.

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The victim told investigators she and Guzman-Lara joked about getting married and having kids, according to court documents. She said she knew Guzman-Lara’s relationship with his wife, who also worked at the restaurant, was unstable.

The victim and Guzman-Lara then began a sexual relationship lasting a month or two. The first time the two had sex was at Guzman-Lara’s apartment when his wife was apparently at work. At some point, Guzman-Lara’s wife came home and tried opening the locked bedroom door. Guzman-Lara tried to help the girl sneak out a window, but his wife entered the room and saw her. Guzman-Lara said the two were just talking.

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

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

At some point, a message came to the victim’s phone from a co-worker at the restaurant. The co-worker is also an elementary school teacher with Bonneville Joint School District 93.

The sixth-grade teacher, whom EastIdahoNews.com is not identifying 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).”

Court records also indicate Guzman-Lara will have to register as a sex offender. Pickett also ordered he pay about $1,545 in fees and fines.

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