Published December 04, 2016
One of the most prominent Latino activists in Utah is facing charges for allegedly raping an ex-girlfriend.
Tony Yapias is the director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, an immigration advocacy group for Hispanics in the state. As director, he served as spokesman for the state’s fast-growing Hispanic population. About 400,000 Latinos live in the state.
Yapias, the former Utah director of Hispanic Affairs, is accused of entering the home of an ex-girlfriend and having “sexual intercourse with her without her consent,” according to a police report. He also faces charges for tampering with evidence.
His ex-girlfriend claims she was raped on March 21, days after she ended a four-year relationship with him. She said he barged into her home after she opened the door.
"The victim again made it clear she was not interested in a continuing relationship and did not want to engage in sex,” the charging documents said. “(Yapias) then forced the issue and had sexual intercourse with the victim without her consent."
Yapias admits to having sex with his ex, but contends it was consensual. According to Deseret News, he told police he believed the woman, "consented at some point by removing her clothes," according to charging documents.
Police claim Yapias tried to delete text messages between himself and the victim, allegedly grabbing the phone out her hand after the alleged rape had occurred.
Forensic investigators were able to retrieve the messages, showing the woman saying, “I said no. Don’t you get it,” and responses from Yapias saying, “No, I don’t get it,” and “I’ll be there.”
On April 4, following the alleged rape, Yapias admitted to erasing the messages, and “acknowledged that the victim had told him ‘no’ she did not want to have sex,” court documents said.
Court documents also note the victim’s status as undocumented.
"(Yapias) was also well aware of issues related to the victim's immigration status," the charges say. "As part of the March (21) text exchange, before he arrived at her home, he had stated: 'I'm at (a) meeting about immigration with representatives from Washington, D.C.'"
Despite the victim’s immigration status, she reported the claim of sexual assault the day it happened to police. She was examined by a forensic nurse and was found, according to documents, to have multiple physical injuries consistent with her description of events.
In exchange for Yapias agreeing to a no-contact order with the victim in the case, bail was reduced Monday to $100,000, down from the $250,000 that friends and family raised to secure his release from jail.
When contacted by Fox News Latino, Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings’ declined comment.
For several years, Yapias has spoken out about immigration issues impacting Utah Latinos on his blog, radio programs, TV newscasts and at several rallies.
In 2014, Yapias attended a meeting with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office on behalf of the Latino community.
During a court hearing on Tuesday, Yapias said that he would continue to fight for issues involving the Latino community as much as he could.
"There are a lot of other people in the community who are working every day to make sure that the issues of the community are taken care of," he said, according to the Deseret News.