Crime

‘Victim is in complete fear’: Boise police officer accused of rape has bond set at $250K

An Ada County judge set a bond of $250,000 on Thursday for a veteran Boise police officer accused of raping an Eagle woman, citing the serious nature of the charges and the officer’s ability to access weapons easily. The judge also granted the alleged victim’s request for a no-contact order.

Eric M. Simunich, 43, turned himself in to Ada County sheriff’s deputies and was booked into jail on Wednesday on a felony rape charge. Per Boise Police Department policy, the officer of nearly 20 years has been suspended from duty while the investigation and case continue, BPD confirmed Wednesday.

At an arraignment hearing Thursday, during which Simunich appeared via video, prosecutor John Dinger said Simunich and the woman met online last Saturday and set a date for the following day. Simunich came to the woman’s Eagle home on Sunday to watch a movie, during which the woman says there was “consensual kissing.”

Dinger said in court that the woman briefly left the room and returned to find Simunich with his pants off. The woman resisted, but Simunich forcefully flipped her over and raped her, the prosecutor said. Simunich slapped the woman twice, Dinger said, and ripped off one of her fingernails when he grabbed her phone out of her hand.

After Simunich left, the woman went to the Faces of Hope Victim Center in Boise for a sexual assault exam, Dinger said, and was found to have bruises on her inner thighs and a shoulder, and marks on her face.

“The victim is in complete fear of the defendant,” Dinger said when asking the judge for a high bond.

The Idaho Statesman does not identify victims of alleged sexual crimes.

Dinger said Simunich texted the woman Monday morning and attempted to downplay what happened. Dinger said the woman responded angrily, demanding that Simunich apologize. Prosecutors claim that Simunich did not deny any of her claims in the text messages.

The woman also called 911 on Monday morning, Ada County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Patrick Orr said in a Wednesday news release, and sheriff’s detectives immediately began an investigation.

Scott McKay, Simunich’s attorney, said his client denies the rape charge in the “strongest possible terms.” He asked the judge not to set bond at all, saying Simunich is not a flight risk and comes from a well-respected Boise family.

“This is a man who has served and protected the community for over 20 years,” McKay said.

Magistrate Judge Daniel Steckel rejected the argument and decided on the $250,000 bail.

Simunich’s next court appearance is set for Friday, Oct. 25, at 8:30 a.m.

The Idaho Statesman’s salary database created in May lists Simunich as a corporal making just over $36 an hour with BPD. He was hired in 2000. Before that, he was an Idaho State Police trooper.

NEED HELP?

The Faces of Hope Victim Center is available for victims in need of emergency services at 417 S. 6th St. in Boise. Victims should call 911 in emergencies or call 208-577-4400 on weekdays during business hours. Faces of Hope provides free medical care and forensic examinations for victims, as well as assistance with filing police reports and mental health care.

Survivors who may need help are also encouraged to contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Reporter Ruth Brown contributed to this story.

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Investigative reporter Nicole Foy covers Latinos, agriculture and government accountability issues. She graduated from Biola University and previously worked for the Idaho Press and the Orange County Register. Her Hispanic affairs beat reporting won first place in the 2018 Associated Press regional awards. Ella habla español.
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