Montana man charged after allegedly raping minor in Lava Hot Springs - East Idaho News
Crime Watch

Montana man charged after allegedly raping minor in Lava Hot Springs

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LAVA HOT SPRINGS — A man police say raped a 14-year-old girl has been charged with a felony.

Joshua Everett Hancock, 38, faces one count of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16, court records show.

The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office received a referral from Idaho Health and Welfare Children and Family Services on March 9, according to the affidavit of probable cause. The referral said a 14-year-old girl was raped by a man deputies later identified as Hancock.

The victim was interviewed by a therapist at a child advocacy center in Pocatello on March 13.

During the interview, the girl said the assault happened in December. She said she was at a friend’s house, playing Fortnite, when a man she identified as “Josh” gave her alcohol.

Once she was drunk, the victim said Hancock offered to give her a ride home, the affidavit says.

The victim recalled vomiting during the drive and getting some on her sweatshirt. She said Hancock removed her clothes and raped her. When he was done, the victim said, Hancock dropped her off “a few houses down from her house.”

She said she felt “gross,” according to the affidavit.

Following the interview, deputies learned Hancock is a registered sex offender out of Montana. The sex offender registry showed Hancock had been convicted of a sex crime in Idaho in 2005, the affidavit says.

Court records show Hancock was found guilty of raping a minor in 2005 and sentenced to a rider.

Deputies applied for and obtained a search warrant for the victim’s cell phone. Forensic analysts examined the phone.

During the search, deputies found a message string, including texts messages, pictures and videos, beginning the evening of Dec. 21, the affidavit says.

In a video sent from the victim to a friend of hers, the victim says she is drunk. In a later text message to the same friend, the victim says she is getting a ride home from Hancock.

The next activity from the victim’s phone was a text sent around 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 22. According to the affidavit, this is consistent with the statement provided by the victim.

Deputies also spoke with a witness, who recalled there being vomit on the victim’s sweatshirt when the witness saw the victim on Dec. 22.

Deputies obtained Hancock’s cell phone number from the Yellowstone County, Montana Sheriff’s Office’s sex offender registry. With deputies and her father present, the victim was asked to call Hancock.

Hancock answered the call, the affidavit says, and confirmed that it was him. The victim then said she was worried about being pregnant. She asks if Hancock used a condom, to which he replied something the deputies could not understand, the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, Hancock told the victim that he was working in Montana, but would “make some calls” and help the victim “figure it out.” Before hanging up, Hancock allegedly told the victim, again, that he would help “get it figured out.”

The affidavit does not provide details about additional investigation or the process by which Hancock was arrested, but court records show that an arrest warrant for Hancock was issued on March 21. The warrant was served on May 8.

He was booked into Bannock County Jail and was released after posting a $50,000 bond on May 9.

Though Hancock has been charged with this crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If he is found guilty, Hancock would face up to life in prison.

He is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on May 22.