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South Dakota Sex Offenses and Why They are Different

Acts of sexual violation or sexual acts performed against the victim’s will are sex offenses. Most states categorize sex offenses as violent crimes and penalize them as such. Penalties for sex offenses range from imprisonment for no less than one year to prison for life, depending on the offense’s severity or nature. In some cases, sex offenses become federal crimes; an example of such cases is when a sex offense occurs on government property or across state boundaries. As with other federal crimes, federal courts try federal offenses according to federal laws. In South Dakota, the courts enforce the programs and penalties that the state statutes provide.

What is a South Dakota Sex Crime?

State statutes designate sex crimes in South Dakota. Sex crimes may include such offenses as performing sexual acts forcefully or on a minor. South Dakota courts enforce penalties provided by the state Criminal Code for sex offenses. Sex crimes in South Dakota are classified by severity as either felonies or misdemeanors. South Dakota also ranks sex offenders in tiers depending on the severity of the offense and the risk of repeat offenses. Upon release from custody or incarceration, sex offenders must register with the Criminal Investigation division of the Attorney General’s office. The state offers treatment programs for sex offenders; one such program is the Special Treatment of Perpetrators Program (STOP), which the Department of Corrections (DOC) operates. STOP includes relapse prevention, educational treatment, and therapy.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?

Sex offenses in South Dakota include:

  • Rape: S. D. Codified Laws § 22–22–1 define rape as sexual penetration with
    • A person under 13 years old (first-degree rape, a Class C felony)
    • A person 13 years and older but less than 16, provided the perpetrator is at least three (3) years older than the victim (fourth-degree rape, a Class 3 felony)
    • The use of coercion, force, or threats of bodily harm (second-degree rape, a Class 1 felony)
    • A person mentally or physically incapable of consent (third-degree rape, a Class 2 felony)
    • A person unable to consent due to intoxication, inebriation, hypnosis, or anesthetic (third-degree rape, a Class 2 felony)

Class C felonies are punishable by incarceration for life in state prison and fines of up to $50,000. Class 1 felonies are punishable by imprisonment for up to 50 years and fines of up to $50,000. Class 2 felonies are punishable by imprisonment for up to 25 years and fines of up to $50,000. Class 3 felonies are punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years and fines of up to $30,000; however, according to S. D. Codified Laws § 22–22–1.2, rape with a child less than 13 years old carries a minimum imprisonment term of 15 years.

  • Other sex offenses in South Dakota are:
    • Public indecency
    • Indecent exposure
    • Unlawful sexual contact
    • Bestiality
    • Incest
    • Sexual exploitation of a minor
    • Intentional exposure to HIV
    • Sexual acts between an inmate and a jail employee
    • Threatening to commit a sexual offense
    • Assisting or harboring a sex offender

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in South Dakota

Depending on the severity of the crime and the risk of repeat offenses, South Dakota categorizes sex offenders into three tiers. Tier 1 and Tier 2 offenders’ names may obtain relief from registration if such persons meet all registration and relief requirements. However, Tier 3 offenders’ names may not get relief except through a governor’s pardon.

  • Tier 1: Tier 1 offenders are low-risk offenders; this means there is very little chance of repeated offenses. Such persons must register for a minimum of ten (10) years.
  • Tier 2: Tier 2 offenders are moderate-risk offenders and must register for a minimum of 25 years
  • Tier 3: Tier 3 offenders are high-risk offenders; this means a high chance of repeated offenses. Such persons must register for life.

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in South Dakota?

Interested parties may find sex offenders in a particular geographic location or region through community notification services, email notifications and the search function on South Dakota’s Sex Offender Registry, and through third-party websites. The Department of Corrections (DOC) makes sex offender information available on a public website. Additionally, local law enforcement agencies notify schools, organizations, and in some cases, individuals who live in the same area as an offender of the offender’s presence. Through email, notifications, and community notification materials like bulletins, flyers, and notices, law enforcement agencies send sex offender updates to citizens.

South Dakota Sex Offender Registry

Immediately upon release from custody or incarceration, sex offenders must register with the Department of Corrections (DOC) (S. D. Codified Laws § 22–24B–2).. The DOC then makes the information available in a public registry and through community notification initiatives. At registration, the offender must submit the following information:

  • Full names and all aliases used.
  • Date of birth
  • Photographs, palm prints, and fingerprints
  • Offense type and history
  • Conviction date
  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID card number
  • Residence
  • Place of employment
  • Passport
  • Community safety zone acknowledgment
  • Next of kin information
  • Two local contacts
  • Vehicle license
  • Business or professional licenses

Some of the information provided, such as social security number, are confidential and may not be available on the sex offender registry. However, interested parties may freely search the South Dakota sex offender registry using the following criteria:

  • Text search, which includes
    • Offender’s name or alias
    • Offender’s address
    • Offender’s email
    • Offender’s county or zip code
  • Map search, which includes
    • Search by name
    • Search by county
    • Search by city
  • Neighborhood search, which includes
    • Address
    • City, state, or zip code

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in South Dakota?

South Dakota sex offenders must abide by community safety zone restrictions as provided by state statutes. The court and other institutions must inform the offender of community safety zone restrictions for convicted sex offenders. For child victims of sex offenses, the offender may not:

  • Live within one mile of the victim’s house, except the offender is in a detention or correctional facility.
  • Intentionally come within 1,000 feet of the victim.
  • Have direct or indirect contact with the victim\
  • Attend the same school as the victim

South Dakota sex offenders may also not live or loiter within a community safety zone. Community safe zones are areas within 500 feet of playgrounds, public parks, schools, or public pools.

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