Fawnbrook case still sparking debate in Twin Falls

Published: Aug. 5, 2016 at 10:17 PM MDT
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Nancy Taylor works closely with refugees in the Magic Valley.

“I can't tell you how many wonderful refugees that we have here,” Taylor said. “Absolutely amazing. And I've met a lot, and they are not what people think they are."

Not everyone shares her opinion on the refugees, though.

"I believe that there is a very small group in Twin Falls, very small and vocal, who, for lack of a better word, are racist," she said.

Part of that group stood up Friday to affirm just the opposite. “The group” being We the People Magic Valley, composed of the John Birch Society, ACT for America Magic Valley chapter and Dallypost Tactical.

"Please hear us as Americans,” said Julie Ruf, ACT for America Magic Valley chapter head. “We're not haters. We might sound like it from where we're standing, but we're not."

They say they are angry about the handling of the Fawnbrook case, where a 5-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a group of young Middle-Eastern boys, their refugee status unknown.

The details of the case are sealed, as all involved were minors.

When the group spoke out about the handling of the case at multiple city council meetings, all some could hear was racism.

"I just care about a little girl that was violated,” Ruf said, “and I had questions, and I believe the community has questions, and we want them addressed. And I shouldn't be called a white (supremacist) for doing that. That's appalling to me, and it's an offense, and I personally if I knew anyone even standing behind me was a white (supremacist), I wouldn't keep company with them. I find that revolting."

But the confusion lies here: in a call to fix this case, many have called for reform on a long-standing refugee program at CSI, a program that has more recently started taking refugees from predominantly Islamic countries.

For some, the timing of their outrage for both the assault and the refugee program is too suspicious.

"A little girl was assaulted, and just because people of color are involved, it becomes an issue,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, children in this community are victims of crime every day, why isn't that an outrage?”