>Prison Guard Accused Of Rape

According to the Defense Attorney representing Pieper at his first court appearance Monday afternoon, he was employed here at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

Now he’s the one behind bars facing a possible life sentence if he’s convicted of first degree rape.

Prosecutors say a family member walked in on 38 year-old Todd Carl Pieper as he was abusing the 4 year-old female victim.

Investigators will say very little about the circumstances of what happened or the relationship between Pieper and the victim.

They say it happened in rural Minnehaha County and the defendant was arrested at the Law Enforcement Center in Sioux Falls.

In court Monday, his defense attorney said past accusations of abuse against Pieper had been investigated and found to be untrue.

Monday afternoon during his first appearance, Pieper entered a not guilty plea.

His bond was set at $250-thousand.

The South Dakota Department of Corrections says Pieper is no longer employed at the prison.



A former South Dakota prison guard was sentenced to more than five years in prison

posted 07/17/08 at perverted justice

A former South Dakota prison guard was sentenced to more than five years in prison yesterday for raping a 14-year-old Escondido girl after using the Internet to lure her to South Dakota.

Charles “Chuck” Leroy Crowell will serve five years and four months in a California prison, then will be sent back to South Dakota where he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes against the same girl, Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walsh ruled.

Walsh said he gave Crowell the maximum sentence allowed under California law. Crowell pleaded guilty Nov. 30 in San Diego County to luring a minor with the intent of committing a sexual offense, lewd acts with a minor 14 to 15 years old and unlawful sex with a child younger than 16.

“This is an atrocious case; it’s atrocious conduct,” Walsh said. “The damage to the victim was severe.”

The judge said the girl had been hospitalized for psychological treatment as a result of her ordeal.

Crowell’s attorney told the judge her client hoped to be granted probation on the California case because he admitted his guilt early and psychologists found that he was unlikely to commit more crimes.

“He does take full responsibility for his actions,” Deputy Public Defender Beth Ulch told the judge.

Walsh said he thought Crowell remained a threat.

“I’m going to respectfully disagree with all the doctors who said he is not a predator,” Walsh said. The judge ordered Crowell, 35, to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Deputy District Attorney Gretchen Means said outside the courtroom that Crowell initially contacted the girl through a cell phone that had Internet access.

Crowell flew to San Diego on Jan. 4, 2007, and checked into a motel where the girl planned to meet him, investigators have said.

Her parents were able to stop her from meeting with Crowell twice, according to court documents, but she was discovered missing from her bedroom Jan. 7.

Crowell’s attorney told the judge yesterday that Crowell didn’t know the girl was a minor when he struck up the Internet relationship and came to San Diego to meet her.

The judge said that at some point “it should have been abundantly clear to him that the victim was underage.”

Means said outside the courtroom that Crowell was prosecuted partly under provisions of Jessica’s Law, approved by voters in 2006 and aimed at those who exploit minors using the Internet.

“The Internet has given fuel to a fire that’s hard to put out. It makes access a lot easier to predators,” Means said.

“I would just ask all parents, and I am a parent myself, to remain vigilant,” she said. “Even if you trust your children, you can’t trust the people who are trying to contact them.”



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