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Man accused of sex crimes gets lesser charges in return for testifying against roommate

Joel A. Mingura | Bannock County Jail
POCATELLO — A Pocatello man accused of sex crimes pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for testifying against a former roommate.
Last week, Magistrate Judge Steven Thomsen placed 31-year-old Joel A. Mingura on four years of supervised probation after he pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor battery. As part of a recent plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed a felony lewd conduct charge against Mingura in exchange for testifying against his former roommate, 24-year-old Dennis Justin Wright, who is charged with felony rape and lewd conduct.
Thomsen ordered Mingura to undergo sex offender treatment despite not being required to register as a sex offender under Idaho law. He will also have to pay a $1,000 fine.
Pocatello police learned about Mingura and Wright after a 13-year-old victim’s mother discovered messages between her son and the men on the dating app Grindr, according to officers’ reports. The app gears itself to the LGBTQ community and requires users to say they are at least 18 years old. The mother confronted Mingura and Wright before contacting law enforcement.
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Mingura began communicating with the victim in May while using Grindr, according to an affidavit of probable cause. On May 24, Mingura and the boy planned to meet up at Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck. The two drove back to a Pocatello home, and he and the teenager allegedly performed sexual acts on each other. He returned the boy to the mall.
The probable cause alleges Wright began communicating with the same teenager the following day. Police say he picked the boy up at a Chubbuck gas station and drove him to the home he and Mingura shared. Documents allege the two performed sex acts on each other, and the two met up on May 26 and engaged in illicit activities again.
Mingura was reportedly home during the sexual encounters between Wright and the teen.
A jury trial for Wright is scheduled for May 5 at the Bannock County Courthouse. He remains out of custody after posting bond.

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