Idaho Falls, ID
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Idaho Falls is a city of approximately 62,000 residents in southeastern Idaho, located in Bonneville County. It’s located along an interstate highway, which police say contributes to prostitution and sex trafficking occurring in local hotels. Prostitution often generates additional problems and crimes in the community. For example, a man was sentenced to prison for mugging a sex buyer in January 2021. There’s evidence that the sex buyer was chosen as a target because it was assumed he was unlikely to call the police since he was searching for a prostituted person.
In an effort to reduce demand for commercial sex in the city, police have conducted reverse sting operations that arrest local sex buyers. For example, in a 2011 web-based reverse sting, the Idaho Falls Police Department arrested four male sex buyers at a hotel. The operation was somewhat different than a standard web-based reverse sting — in this instance, two prostituted women who were arrested agreed to cooperate with police and help conduct the reverse sting by continuing to run their online advertisements. Potential male sex buyers who contacted the women for commercial sex were asked to meet at a hotel, where they were arrested.
Some arrests of sex buyers in Idaho Falls have been the product of allegations against specific individuals, rather than reverse stings using police decoys. For example, a registered sex offender was arrested in May 2017 after paying for a sexual encounter with a teenage girl. In October 2019 a man was arrested for soliciting a 16-year-old boy on Craigslist, and yet another was arrested in 2020 after offering a 14-year-old girl a vape device in exchange for sex and then proceeding to sexually assault her.
In a more complicated example, an Idaho Falls man was arrested in May 2021 for raping a 15-year-old girl. In August 2021, a new probable cause affidavit stated that the man also reportedly raped a 17-year-old girl and reportedly conspired to attempt to sex traffic other girls at a group home. The affidavit stated the man gave both victims drugs and then raped them. One victim said she intended to pay the man $30 for the tattoos at the first meeting, but that he demanded one of them perform a sex act instead. One refused, but the other victim performed the sex act. She said they later passed out from the drugs the man gave them, and that she woke up while he was raping her. Another girl who met with the man was told she could keep 10 percent of any money they made from soliciting commercial sex and that they would keep 90 percent. The man also demanded and received nude photographs from one of the girls via social media. He was charged in Bonneville County Court with rape, punishable with a minimum of one year in prison and up to a life sentence. He was also charged with possession of child sexually exploitative material, punishable with up to 10 years in prison. This case involved many serious felony offenses, including rape and extortion of minors, sex trafficking of children, and distribution of child sexual abuse material, but for the purposes of Demand Forum, meets the criteria for an arrest of a sex buyer since the man demanded sex in exchange for something of value (tattoos).
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Four Men, Two Women Arrested during Prostitution Sting in I.F.,” Idaho State Journal, October 31 2011.
- “Police Bust Men in Prostitution Sting; Business Burglarized; Men Arrested for Soliciting Sex,” Press Release, Idaho Falls Police Department, October 31 2011.
- “Four Arrested in Idaho Sex Sting,” NBC/KTVB-TV 7, November 1 2011.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/registered-sex-offender-allegedly-pays-teen-sex (2017)
- https://www.postregister.com/news/crime_courts/rigby-man-sentenced-for-hiring-child-prostitute-on-craigslist (2019)
- https://www.postregister.com/news/crime_courts/idaho-falls-man-arrested-after-admitting-to-child-sex-abuse (2020)
- https://www.postregister.com/news/crime_courts/second-rape-charge-filed-in-rape-sex-trafficking-case (2021)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/idaho-falls-sex-trafficking-investigation-at-group-home-leads-to-rape-arrest/ (2021)
- https://www.rexburgstandardjournal.com/news/idaho/second-rape-charge-filed-in-rape-sex-trafficking-case (2021)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/isp-arrest-former-minnesota-teacher-and-basketball-coach-facing-prison-for-sex-crimes (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Regional News; I.F. Girl, 14, Held on Felony Count of Pimping,” Idaho Falls Post Register, February 19 1999.
- “Man Facing Kidnap Charges,” Idaho Falls Post Register, July 28 2004.
- “Criminals Using Internet to Lure Kids into Sex Trafficking,” Idaho Falls Post Register, March 21 2013.
- “Idaho Not Free from Human Trafficking,” Idaho State Journal, November 23 2014.
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/man-sentenced-to-prison-after-bragging-about-rape-of-teen-girl (2019)
- https://www.postregister.com/idaho-falls-man-admits-to-soliciting-child-porn (2020)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/idaho-falls-sex-trafficking-investigation-at-group-home-leads-to-rape-arrest (2021)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/man-faces-second-rape-charge-stemming-from-sex-trafficking-investigation (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Week in Review; S.D. Man Accused of Running Prostitution Ring,” Idaho Falls Post Register, February 13 2005.
- “Escort Service Creator Guilty,” Idaho Falls Post Register, May 5 2005.
- “SF Man Pleads Guilty in Escort Service Sting,” CBS/KELO-TV 11, May 6 2005.
- “Craigslist Ad Leads to Arrest,” Idaho Falls Post Register, June 20 2009.
- “Craigslist Ad Leads to Arrest for Prostitution,” Idaho State Journal, December 15 2009.
- “Montana Woman Arrested for Prostitution in Idaho Falls,” Idaho State Journal, March 23 2011.
- “Idaho Falls Woman Arrested for Prostitution,” Idaho State Journal, May 6 2011.
- “Looking Back; 100 Years Ago,” Idaho Falls Post Register, July 28 2011.
- “Idaho Falls Police Make Prostitution Arrest,” Idaho State Journal, April 22 2013.
- “Prosecutors Drop Prostitution Charge,” Idaho Falls Post Register, June 7 2013.
- “Looking Back; 100 Years Ago,” Idaho Falls Post Register, June 13 2013.
- “Police Say Too Much Sex for Sale in Eastern Idaho; Undercover Officers Found Prostitutes Online,” CBS/KIDK-TV 3, July 18 2013.
- “Two Arrested for Prostitution in Idaho Falls,” Idaho State Journal, July 22 2013.
- “Authorities Work to Deter Prostitution in East Idaho,” Idaho State Journal, July 26 2013.
- “A look at the sex trade in east Idaho from women who work it.” East Idaho News, March 22, 2018.
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/idaho-falls-woman-arrested-for-prostitution-at-massage-parlor (2018)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/we-are-east-idaho-idaho-falls (2019)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/woman-arrested-in-idaho-prostitution-sting-charged-with-witness-intimidation-extortion (2020)
- https://www.eastidahonews.com/idaho-falls-man-sent-to-prison-for-robbery (2021)
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