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Idaho Falls sex trafficking investigation at group home leads to rape arrest

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — An investigation into sex trafficking at a local youth group home led to the arrest of a man for rape.

The Idaho Falls Police Department received a report that three girls between the ages of 11 and 16 told staff members that a 17-year-old at the group home was possibly trafficking them for sex. The information comes from charging documents against 23-year-old Isaac Anthony Ybarra, of Rexburg, who is charged with felony rape where resistance is prevented by the threat of harm.

Investigators spoke with girls who would leave the group home at night while the 17-year-old girl allegedly arranged sexual encounters with other underage girls. According to court documents, witnesses described the 17-year-old talking about selling girls for drugs and money. The 17-year-old reportedly kept 90% of the proceeds with 10% going to the girls she allegedly trafficked.

On New Year’s Eve, a 15-year-old told investigators that Ybarra was contacted. She, along with the 17-year-old and Ybarra, met up at a local motel to get tattoos. Ybarra was reportedly known at the group home as someone who would exchange sexual favors for drugs and tattoos, according to court documents.

The 15-year-old girl said the group got high or intoxicated at the motel and Ybarra gave the girls tattoos before they fell asleep.

He allegedly woke the 15-year-old girl up and said it was time to pay for the tattoos. Not having any money, Ybarra allegedly told the girl she had to pay by having sex with him. She told police Ybarra pulled out a gun and said if she did not engage in sexual acts with him, she would not leave the hotel.

The 15-year-old had sexual intercourse with Ybarra and charging documents say because he allegedly used threats, he was charged with felony rape.

After the incident, witnesses say the 17-year-old told others about how she sold the younger girl for sex. At one point, an 11-year-old reportedly said she wanted to be “pimped out,” but some at the group home felt she did not fully comprehend what that meant.

By the time police spoke with the 17-year-old girl, she was in custody at a juvenile detention center in St. Anthony. As soon as detectives said they wanted to talk about the alleged prostitution, the girl invoked her Fifth Amendment right and did not answer questions.

Investigators spoke with Ybarra, who said he went to the hotel with both girls on New Year’s Eve but denied ever forcing either girl to have sex with him. Ybarra said everything was consensual and the girls forced themselves on him, according to court documents.

Ybarra was already in custody on an unrelated charge at the Bonneville County Jail when he was charged with rape on May 11. He made his initial appearance on Thursday, where a judge set Ybarra’s bail at $40,000.

Although Ybarra is accused of a crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A preliminary hearing for Ybarra is scheduled for May 26 at the Bonneville County Courthouse.

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