Authorities in Idaho are refuting numerous, conflicting reports on far-right websites that a little girl in the town of Twin Falls was raped at knifepoint by a gang of Syrian refugees. The local prosecutor says the rumors were created by “a small group of people in Twin Falls County whose life goal is to eliminate refugees.”
The Idaho Statesman reported Monday that claims of a gang rape and subsequent coverup in Twin Falls were fake, circulated by people who oppose refugee resettlement in the area, and a specifically a refugee resettlement center at the College of Southern Idaho. They were repeated in various forms on websites like Infowars, Drudge Report, and World Net Daily: Infowars, for example, claimed that the girl was raped and urinated on in a laundry room at an apartment building in Twin Falls, and that the family of the perpetrators celebrated like vicious, evil cartoons afterwards:
When she arrived, the mother of the alleged rapists was only able to say “no police,” while the father reportedly congratulated his 13-year-old son. Video of the entire assault was captured on the boy’s cellphone.
Infowars got their info from a very reliable-sounding site called Creeping Sharia, which, in return, got their version of events from a site called Behind My Back, which reported things in CALM AND MEASURED BOLD ALL CAPS:
POLICE DID NOT (STILL HAVE NOT) MADE ANY ARRESTS, REPORTEDLY BECAUSE OF THE ‘LANGUAGE BARRIER’.
BOTH PERP REFUGEE FAMILIES ARE STILL IN THE APARTMENT COMPLEX, LANDLORD IS UNABLE TO EVICT. THE MOTHER OF VICTIM ESTIMATES 50+ REFUGEES ARE IN THE COMPLEX.
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY GRANT LOEBS (OR HIS OFFICE) SUGGESTED THAT THE VICTIM’S FAMILY MAY NOT WISH TO PROSECUTE.
The whole thing was, Behind My Back opined, “JUST MORE RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS, ACTING AGAINST MORE INNOCENT AMERICAN CITIZENS.”
The true story, or what we know of it, is equal parts sad and disturbing: According to those Grant Loebs, the prosecutor quoted in the Idaho Statesman, three boys aged 7, 10, and 14 are indeed being investigated for some type of sexual assault on a 5-year-old girl in a laundry room; the details of the assault obviously haven’t been disclosed. The boys are believed to be from Sudan and Iraq, not Syria. They’re currently being held at a juvenile detention facility, and police did say they believed the boys had all been in the country “less than two years.”
But there were no adults implicated in the crime, prosecutors said, no knife, and no gang-rape. Only one person is alleged to have physically touched the victim.
The reports online fanned a furious wave of local outrage in Twin Falls; KTVB reports that at a City Council meeting Monday night, residents accused police of a cover-up.
World Net Daily has deleted their earlier report, which linked to Infowars. Now, though, WND columnist Leo Hohmann is accusing the police and the media of hiding the fact that the attack was perpetrated by “Muslim migrants,” who are, after all, all the same.
“At least three local newspapers have tried to discredit the reports of the assault,” he writes. “Focusing instead on a few details that were erroneously reported by bloggers while ignoring or downplaying the broader truth of the story—that Muslim migrants stripped down and humiliated a vulnerable little girl.”
“A few details” being that a rape occurred, at knifepoint, by Syrians, and that no one was arrested or charged.
World Net Daily is using as their main source an 89-year-old woman named Jolene Payne who lives in the apartment complex and who claims that she saw three children with what she called “dark cloudy skin and curly hair” urinating on a little white girl. From WND:
“All I know is what I told them. The worst thing was the way they peed all over her clothes and on her too, and I thought that was one of the meanest things I’ve ever saw done,” she added. “And we know those kids must know a lot more than the kids in America of that age. I’ve never seen any of them do anything like that to little girls, and we have a lot of children around here.”
Snopes points out that in some versions of the story circulating via email and Twitter, the girl was murdered. That also did not happen.
Fox News, meanwhile, reported Wednesday that what happened during the incident is “unclear,” but that, nonetheless, Twin Falls residents are living in fear. One of them, Davis Odell, told Fox that the incident by whoever those kids were is proof that refugees maybe shouldn’t be resettled in Idaho: ““We’re worried that these are the kids who will be going to school with our kids,” he said. “We want to know what is happening.”
Screenshot via KTVB