Mark Allen Karlovich, shown here in 2013 when he pleaded guilty to a single count of rape, is eligible for parole later this year. At left is defense attorney Douglas Nelson.

     Twenty-year-old Mark Allen Karlovich, sentenced to prison in 2013 for raping two 14-year-old Blaine County girls, is eligible for parole later this year. However, the mother of one of his victims has organized a community campaign intended to keep Karlovich behind bars.

     Karlovich is one of dozens of Idaho Department of Correction inmates eligible for a parole hearing before the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole in March. The hearing date won’t be set until later this month, but if approved for parole Karlovich could be released from prison as early as Sept. 10, the day his determinate penitentiary sentence ends.

     As of noon Thursday, 508 people had signed the online petition opposing Karlovich’s release.

     Karlovich, convicted of a single count of rape but with two victims named in the complaint, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on June 4, 2013. Fifth District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee ordered that Karlovich serve 32 months before parole eligibility but gave Karlovich credit for 167 days already spent in jail.

     The case drew more public attention than most sex-crime cases in Blaine County. Nearly 100 people attended the sentencing hearing at the Blaine County court building, with most of them being family, friends and supporters of the two 14-year-old girls, both of whom claimed that Karlovich had forced sexual intercourse upon them.

     Karlovich pleaded guilty to rape in March 2013. However, he claimed that sex with the girls was consensual. However, in Idaho, consent is not a factor when the victims are under 16 years of age.

Email the writer: tsmith@mtexpress.com