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Alleged sexual assault incident part of Legion baseball investigation

RAPID CITY, S.D.  — There is newly released information in the ongoing investigation into the Mitchell Legion baseball program.

The Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office says it has received the Department of Correction’s (DCI) report involving the Mitchell Legion baseball team. The allegations include sexual assault and the primary acts are alleged to have happened in Pennington County.

There are news reports that the assault may have started as a hazing incident. Hazing is defined as “to harass by abusive and humiliating tricks, or a way of initiation.”

Now, sexual assault and harassment claims, that are said to have stemmed from team hazing activities, are being investigated. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley talked about the case last week with KEVN Black Hills Fox.

“Especially with any program when you have young adults, or juveniles involved, it’s important that things are done to keep a safe environment. And again, these are allegations at this point, and so all I have to say is, whenever we receive allegations, and they are serious in nature, we look at them, we investigate. This case will be thoroughly investigated and reviewed by two prosecution authorities, and so it will take time, and we’ll get to the bottom of what happened,” said Jackley.

Jackley says allegations like these come down to the coaches and athletes involved, stating that he doesn’t believe similar issues have occurred in the state.

The DCI announced its investigation into the complaints concerning Mitchell Legion baseball on July 12.

“Based upon the serious nature of the allegations that have been received and the public nature of the investigation, I am confirming that the State Division of Criminal Investigation and assisting agencies are engaged in an ongoing investigation of complaints surrounding the Mitchell American Legion baseball program,” South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said on July 12.

Post 22 head coach Kelvin Torve talked about hazing last week with KEVN Black Hills Fox , saying they try to avoid these incidents.

“Humility, selflessness, and gratitude are the pillars in which we try to achieve that goal. And so, we’re not perfect, but with our track record of success on the field, and we’ve got leaders of our culture as alumni. It’s a wonderful place to coach, but we are constantly vigilant to make sure our players behave, make sure they honor others, make sure they understand what it means to be a Post 22 player,” said Torve.

Post 22 players and parents are required to sign player police manuals before each season, outlining what is and is not allowed. Torve says that it grieves him to even hear allegations like this happening within the sport.

The Mitchell baseball team has decided to terminate the remainder of their season.

Jackley went on to say in the statement “subjects of the investigation have had no formal charges filed against them at this time.”

The Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office says it has no timetable for the investigation and will provide further information as it becomes available on what it calls “this highly sensitive matter.”

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Rapid City, US
10:28 am, December 7, 2023
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