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Mitchell baseball leaders plead not guilty in charges tied to rape investigation

Creative Commons

Two adults connected to the Mitchell American Legion baseball program have entered not guilty pleas to charges of failure to report sexual assault.

A spokesperson for the Pennington County States’ Attorney says coach Luke Norden and team board member Jeremy Borgan have both pleaded not guilty and await a joint court trial in March.

The legal saga began this summer after two 16-year-old team members alleged they were the victims of assault during a team trip to Pennington County.

The incident, framed as a “team hazing ritual” by defense, has been described as a “forceable assault” by prosecution.

Six team members between the ages of 17 and 19 face varying adult charges of second-degree rape as a result and have pleaded not guilty.

South Dakota law describes that charge as involving “force, coercion, or threats of immediate and great bodily injury.” That class one felony carries a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison per count.

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