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Mitchell baseball players plead not guilty in rape case

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Pennington County Courthouse (file)

Players on the Mitchell Post 18 baseball team have pleaded not guilty to rape charges following an incident earlier this summer.

Six team members between the ages of 17 and 19 have been charged on counts including second degree rape and aiding and abetting.

Two 16-year-old victims allege the assault happened in Pennington County in early June. The original framing of the incident, as a team hazing ritual, has been rejected by Pennington County States Attorney Lara Roetzel, who describes it as a “forcible assault.”

The six team members are slated to be tried as adults on charges that could carry up to 50 years in prison.

Roetzel said additional charges could be looming for adults associated with the team who could have had knowledge of and failed to report the crimes.

Three other juveniles are facing charges in juvenile court, which is closed to the public. Their charges are not being disclosed.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture
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