AP NEWS

Rexburg man charged for rape in church

April 16, 2019

REXBURG − A Rexburg man is facing two life sentences after he allegedly raped a woman in a church.

Gary Tauialo, 31, was closing and locking up the church with the victim when the rape reportedly occurred in January 2018.

The victim went to a hospital to undergo a sexual assault examination. She spoke to a Rexburg Police Department detective a few days later.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the victim told police Tauialo grabbed her from behind, forced her against a wall and raped her, ignoring that she was telling him she didn’t want to have sex.

The victim said she was paralyzed in fear, and repeatedly told Tauialo “no” until he stopped.

Tauialo took the victim home. After he left, she contacted a friend who took her to the hospital. The victim said she waited to contact law enforcement out of fear of how Tauialo would react. She later told the detective she did not want charges filed against Tauialo.

Tauialo agreed to be interviewed by the detective, but ended the interview partway through and requested an attorney. Police received a warrant for his DNA in March 2018 and sent a sample to be tested with the rape kit.

The detective received the results nine months later. The examination found Tauialo’s DNA had been recovered during the sexual assault examination. The detective contacted the victim, who said she wanted to press charges.

Tauialo was arrested and charged with rape and forcible sexual penetration, both of which are punishable with up to life in prison. He waived his preliminary hearing and was bound over to district court on Monday.

Tauialo’s bond was set at $100,000. A pretrial conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 17 in Madison County Courthouse.