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A day after he was charged with rape, well-known Utah Latino activist Tony Yapias said he was "stunned" by the allegations but confident in the judicial system.
Yapias is accused of assaulting a woman in March, the same month that the woman broke off their long-term relationship. The 50-year-old man was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony rape, as well as a charge of class A misdemeanor evidence tampering.
Outside of a North Salt Lake City law office, Yapias held a press conference Tuesday, but would not discuss the allegations against him. He did say, however, that he believed his side of the story would eventually come to light.
"That's why we have the judicial system," he said. "In due time, my side of the story will come out. Yesterday, you got one side of the story."
Yapias, whose full name is Adolpho Tony Yapias-Delgado, is the director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, which works on immigration and Hispanic issues. The man, who is from Peru, was director of Utah's Hispanic Affairs Office and has had several Hispanic-affairs radio shows. He said Tuesday that he has worked for many years on immigration and legal issues.
"That is one of the issues that I've been fighting for most of my life," he said. "This time, it's my turn … I have total confidence in the legal system. I have confidence in how the process works."
Yapias thanked those who have supported him since he was charged Monday, and said he will continue working on community issues as the case plays out in the court system. An initial court appearance has been set for Sept. 27.
Yapias was arrested Monday by South Salt Police, but posted $250,000 bail and was released from the Salt Lake County jail. Davis County prosecutors are handling the case, as Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill recused himself from case to avoid possible conflicts.
Charging documents say that on March 21, Yapias went to the woman's South Salt Lake home despite her admonition in multiple text messages that he stay away to try to talk about her decision to break off their relationship, which had lasted about four years.
"You don't get it," the woman texted Yapias, according to the probable cause statement from police that is included in the court filing.
"No I don't get it," Yapias responded, the document states. "I'll be there," he then said.
During the exchange, Yapias, who was "well aware of the woman's immigration status," told her he was at a "meeting about immigration with representatives with Washington, D.C.," court papers say. Court documents don't provide detail about the woman's immigration status.
The woman initially refused to let Yapias into the home, court documents state, but he pushed his way through the door when she opened it to go outside.
The woman again told Yapias she had no interest in continuing their relationship and did not want to have sex.
"The defendant forced the issue and had sexual intercourse with the victim without her consent," investigators say.
Yapias told investigators that he had sex with her, according to the documents, but he said the woman consented because she removed her clothes.
Yapias later grabbed the woman's cellphone and deleted their text-message exchange as the two discussed her reasons for being angry with him and ending their relationship. The conversation took place in Yapias' car just after the alleged rape, court papers say.
Yapias told investigators he had deleted the messages, police said.
"He could not, or would not explain it," court papers say. "Unfortunately for the defendant, the text messages he deleted were retrieved by a forensic investigator."
Despite fears related to her immigration status, the woman reported the incident to police the same day, court papers say.
Working with the police, the woman contacted Yapias again by text April 4, seeking an apology.
"The defendant apologized for erasing the text messages," court papers say, and "further acknowledged that the victim had told him 'no,' she did not want to have sex."
In her messages, the woman insisted that she had refused Yapias multiple times.
"I told you NO, I don't want sex and you don't care for me, you don't think I'm hurting," she wrote, the court papers show, adding, "First you need to recognize that what you did was not right."
Court papers say Yapias responded: "That's fine. I accept. I am very sorry."
Yapias was a one-time freelance correspondent for The Salt Lake Tribune.