Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Police allege sex crimes

Defendant could face 3 life sentences


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Gustavo Delacruz Saldana

A 24-year-old Ketchum man has been charged with three felonies for allegedly having an ongoing sexual relationship with a 17-year-old Ketchum girl.

Following his arrest on Nov. 1, Gustavo Delacruz Saldana, a Peruvian national, was formally charged with three counts of "sexual battery of a minor child 16 or 17 years of age," a recently enacted criminal law that is applicable only if the accused is more than five years older than the victim. The crime is punishable in Idaho by up to life in prison.

According to court records, Saldana is accused of having sexual intercourse with the girl on three occasions, two of them last summer in Ketchum and the third time in October in Hailey.

The case was investigated by the Ketchum Police Department with the assistance of Hailey police.

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Saldana made an initial court appearance in Blaine County Magistrate Court on Nov. 2. Bond was set at $25,000, a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 16 and Hailey attorney Douglas Werth was appointed public defender.

Saldana remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County jail. An immigration detainer filed by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency accuses him of being in the United States illegally.

Ketchum Deputy Michal Grigsby wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that investigation started on Oct. 27 when police were called to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center concerning a possible sexual assault. Grigsby wrote that through an interpreter, the alleged victim told him that she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Saldana for several months. According to the affidavit, the girl was taken to the hospital by her mother after the mother found out about the relationship.

Saldana was arrested after he was interviewed regarding the allegations. Grigsby wrote that Saldana told him that "he knew that the rules in the United States were stricter concerning having sexual intercourse with a minor, but in Peru it was legal."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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