Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said there were three victims. What appeared to be a third victim's redacted name in records was in fact a nickname for the second victim.
An Idaho Falls man was arraigned Monday after he admitted to sexually abusing two girls.
Evan Mercado, 19, admitted to raping and molesting the victims in an interview with an Idaho Falls Police Department detective, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The victims’ mother reported the abuse to police in November, saying he had raped the victims at least six times each.
One of the victims told her sister Mercado had raped her. The sister then told her mother. The victim had mentioned sexual assault years before while she was at school, but then told her mother she had only dreamed about it.
The older victim told police the molestation began when she was 12 years old. The younger victim said Mercado starting molesting her around the same time, when she was 10. They described how he would ask them to perform sex acts, they would say no, and he would continue to ask until they relented.
One of the victims said Mercado allowed her to use his phone and toys in exchange for performing sex acts.
According to the affidavit, both victims had seen Mercado molesting the other at least once. He would take pictures of them or make them take pictures of themselves. Mercado told police he deleted the photos out of guilt.
Detectives arranged to have the victims’ mother confront Mercado in December while they listened in from another room.
Mercado admitted to forcing the girls to perform sex acts, but denied raping them. He admitted to taking pictures of them.
The officers revealed themselves to confront Mercado. He allowed them to search his electronic devices. No child pornography was found during the investigation.
Mercado admitted to some of the incidents described by the victims and denied others, telling the detectives he had blocked out some of what happened. He said the sex abuse stopped when a child walked in on him molesting one of the victims. The child threatened to tell an adult, but Mercado caught her and told her to not tell anyone.
Mercado was charged with two counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16, punishable with up to life in prison. Though most of the incidents happened when he was a minor, Mercado is being charged as an adult.
Mercado’s bond was set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. April 19 in Bonneville County Courthouse.