Witnesses call police after catching man allegedly having sex with a minor - East Idaho News
Crime Watch

Witnesses call police after catching man allegedly having sex with a minor

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As part of a plea agreement, Sopena agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor disturbing the peace.

Magistrate Judge Brendon Taylor sentenced him to two years of supervised probation, which is expected to end on Jan. 22, 2026.

IDAHO FALLS — A 21-year-old Shelley man was arrested after witnesses reportedly caught him having sex with a 15-year-old in his car.

Efren Sopena Jr. was charged with one count of felony child sexual abuse with a minor under 16.

On Nov. 11, around 12:08 a.m., an Idaho Falls Police officer was dispatched to the Shilo Inn and Suites hotel on 780 Lindsay Boulevard regarding a sexual assault investigation, according to court documents.

The reporting party stated there was an adult man having sex with a 15-year-old girl in the parking lot in a silver pickup truck.

When the officer arrived, he spoke to Sopena, who said he “made out” with the 15-year-old in the truck but that she was 18 years old.

The officer also spoke to three witnesses, who said they observed what appeared to be sexual activity between Sopena and the victim.

Dispatch contacted the officer and said that Sopena also had warrants out for his arrest – two in Bonneville County for a misdemeanor probation violation and failure to appear and one in Bingham County for failure to appear.

Efren was arrested and taken to the Bonneville County Jail.

In police reports, the officer states that while advising him of his Miranda Rights, he asked Sopena why his zipper was down.

Sopena reportedly responded that his “belt and zipper came undone in the vehicle with (the victim).”

Sopena was booked on a bond of $250,000, and a no-contact order was issued for the victim.

He is expected to appear in court on Nov. 22 for a preliminary hearing. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

Though Sopena has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.