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Mitchell baseball coach, board member face charges tied to rape case

The two board members of the Mitchell Baseball Association wanted for failure to report crimes have surrendered to authorities.

This is the latest development in the legal saga that has enveloped the Legion ball club.

The charges are connected to the rape case orbiting six players on the Mitchell Post 18 team. All six of the team members have entered not guilty pleas and are currently out on bond.

The state has alleged each of the defendants, all between the ages of 17 and 19, criminally assaulted a 16-year-old victim, and two participated in a second assault of a second victim. The crimes are alleged to have taken place in Rapid City in early June, which is why the case is being tried in Pennington County.

Because of the severity of the charges, which include counts of felony second-degree rape and aiding and abetting, the six named team members are slated to be tried in adult court. Three younger team members are to be tried in juvenile court, which is not public.

Luke Norden was the team’s coach in addition to being a board member. He faces a total of four charges and is accused of not reporting felony sexual abuse both this year and last year. Board president Jeremy Borgan faces a single charge tied to this summer’s investigation. Both surrendered to authorities in Davison County this week.

Failure to report child abuse or neglect and misprision of a felony – knowing of felony behavior and failing to report it – are class 1 misdemeanors with a maximum of a single year in county jail and a fine of $2,000.

While charges were brought in Davison County, the case is expected to be prosecuted by the deputy Pennington County State’s Attorney Roxanne Hammond.

The original framing of the event, as a team hazing ritual, has been rejected by prosecutors who instead describe the event as a “forcible assault.”

Bail was set at $4,000 for Norden and $1,000 for Borgan. Both men have been released and no court dates for the two has been set.

The next court date for the six team members is Feb. 6.

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