Zachary Michael Park

Zachary Michael Park

POCATELLO — A local 18-year-old faces up to life in prison after local sheriff's deputies say he raped two teenage girls and sexually abused another teenage girl between August and October of last year.

Zachary Michael Park, 18, of Pocatello, was arrested and charged Monday with two counts of felony rape where the defendant is over 18 and the victim is under 16, as well as one count of sexual abuse of a child via solicitation, according to court records the Idaho State Journal obtained Thursday.

Park was initially charged with a fourth felony, lewd conduct with a child under 16, though that charge was dismissed on Wednesday, court records show.

The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office investigation into Park began on Sept. 25 when a teenage girl under the age of 16 told her mother that she had been raped outside of a party in Inkom, according to sheriff's office reports.

The girl’s mother had picked her up from the party in Inkom after Bannock County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched for the report of a party involving teenagers, deputies said. The mother contacted a deputy at the party, who requested she take her daughter to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello to undergo a rape kit exam, deputies said.

The girl completed a rape kit exam that evening and on Sept. 30 completed a forensic interview at a local child advocacy center. Bannock County Sheriff’s Office deputies summarized the content of that interview in their report about the incident. 

During the forensic interview, the girl said Park forcibly raped her in his car outside of the party in Inkom, deputies said.

The girl said that she barely knew Park at all before the alleged rape, adding that "Everybody knows (Park) because he's the varsity quarterback for the (Pocatello High School) football team," deputies said.

Park was the starting quarterback for Pocatello High School in 2020.

Deputies detained and interviewed Park on Sept. 25. During his interview, Park initially denied ever engaging in any sexual acts with the girl until deputies informed him that she completed a rape kit and it’s possible that his DNA could have been left behind, deputies said.

Park then told deputies that he and the girl engaged in consensual intercourse, adding that she had to ask him to stop twice before the conduct ended, deputies said.

Park said he was a very sexually active person, having had sexual intercourse 30 to 40 times with about 20 different partners, deputies said.

Park also allowed deputies to download all the data from his cell phone, and he provided the clothing he was wearing during the alleged rape, which he was still wearing during the interview with deputies, according to sheriff's office reports. Deputies said they also collected evidence from the inside of Park's vehicle.

At the end of her forensic interview, the girl provided information about Park engaging in sexual acts with other underage teenage girls, deputies said.

Bannock County Sheriff’s Office deputies then interviewed several other underage girls, deputies said. Several of the girls participated in forensic interviews at a local child advocacy center, according to sheriff's office reports.

During the forensic interviews, which occurred between Nov. 10 and Dec. 8, some of the underage girls said Park would constantly solicit them for nude photographs on Snapchat as a way of compensation for rides he would give them, deputies said.

The girls said Park would frequently ask them to engage in sexual acts with him, deputies said. One of the teenage girls under the age of 16 told the interviewer that Park forced her to have sex during the summer of 2020, according to sheriff's office reports.

The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office forwarded the case to the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office for the review of criminal charges on Dec. 16, according to court records.

Park was criminally charged and arrested on Monday. Park posted a $25,000 bond on Wednesday and was released from jail, court records show.

Sixth District Judge David Hooste issued no-contact orders between Park and the three underage girls on Wednesday.

Park is due back in court on Jan. 20 for a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will attempt to prove there is enough evidence against him to elevate the case from the magistrate to district court level for trial.

The two felony rape charges against Park are each punishable by no less than one year and up to life in prison, as well as up to a $50,000 fine.

The felony sexual abuse of a child charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.