Man rapes teen girl he met through ‘number neighbor’ texting challenge, Utah cops say

A Utah man faces rape charges after police said he texted his “number neighbor,” then met up with the daughter of the “number neighbor” and raped her.

Issac Francisco Alonso, a Gunnison 19-year-old, is accused of meeting up with the 16-year-old girl on Aug. 8 at a local convenience store, then driving her into the hills and kissing her, at which point she asked him to stop and messaged a friend saying: “Call me, I think I’m about to get raped,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

A police report said Alonso confiscated the girl’s phone and then raped her in the backseat, according to the Tribune.

The Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office arrested Alonso on Aug. 23 on charges of rape, aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, obstructing justice, sexual battery, forcible sexual abuse and damage to communication device, according to online Sanpete County jail records.

He was held on $200,680 bail, jail records said.

The “number neighbor challenge” is an internet phenomenon that cropped up over the summer, in which people text complete strangers whose phone numbers are the same — except for the last digit, which is one higher or lower that the texter’s number. People reaching out to their “textdoor neighbor” post screen grabs of the conversations on social media, with the New York Post reporting that “the hope is to find a modern-day pen pal and to forge a digital connection. But the result of blindly texting random people has produced mixed results.”

After receiving the text from Alonso, the father “asked his 16-year-old daughter what the challenge was all about. She started texting back to Alonso and found out they had friends in common,” KSL reported. The pair communicated over the father’s phone, then on text and Snapchat on the daughter’s phone, the Tribune reported.

Following the alleged rape, the girl said Alonso tried to make small talk on the drive home, and when asked “how many people have you done this to?” he responded: “Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to,” per the Tribune.

The girl’s father said she was “very upset and crying” once she got home and “she looked like she had choke marks on her neck,” the Tribune reports.

KSL reported that “charging documents say the father confronted Alonso on the phone, who then responded that he couldn’t go back to jail and tried to tell the girl to say it was consensual.”

Alonso is set to appear in court Oct. 2, according to KSL.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.