Liberty Counsel Action
South Dakota Obscenity Fact Sheet

A study estimates that 1 in 10 students will experience abuse at the hands of a school employee at some point in their K-12 education.[i] This means that, apart from change, 4.5 million students will be victimized during the next 13 years.[ii] The study also found school employees involved in sexual misconduct in every district it surveyed in 2014. This sexual misconduct was found across geographically and demographically diverse school districts.

In South Dakota alone:

  • A teacher at Axtell Parker Middle School in Sioux Falls, admitted she was having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Tonya Drueppel was convicted of two counts of sexual contact with a child. She faced three more fourth-degree rape charges that prosecutors dropped. There were at least five alleged incidents.[iii]

  • A teacher at Hot Springs High School, agreed to a plea bargain by pleading guilty to sexual contact with three girls under the age of 16 while at a party in his home. Prosecutors dropped four more charges of rape against George Krenz. He was also convicted of eight counts of providing alcohol to minors.  He also worked in schools in Minnesota, North Dakota and at the Pine Ridge School District, before accepting his job in Hot Springs.[iv]

  • A special education teacher, Kari Boll, at West Central High School in Hartford was indicted on 21 felony counts. She was arrested for three counts of rape in the fourth degree. The victim was a West Central Student and a 15-year-old at the time of the three-month sexual relationship.[v]

  • A coach and teacher at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls was arrested for 16 counts of rape. Nicolas Jastorff had repeated sexual contact at school with a 13-year-old girl and exchanged hundreds of text messages with that girl and her 13-year-old friend in 2010. He reached a plea bargain where he pleaded guilty to eight counts of rape and sexual misconduct and 31 other charges were dropped.[vi]

  • A teacher’s aide in Rapid City who was hired to manage the “In School Suspension” room, was caught sending naked pictures of herself to a 15-year-old male student and arranged a meeting to have sex with him. Michelle Felkey targeted at least one other student. In court documents, she blamed the students for her behavior, claiming the victim should feel guilty and should be punished.[vii]

  • A guidance counselor and teacher at New Underwood High School was arrested and charged with fourth-degree rape and sexual contact with a child. He admitted he was in a sexual relationship with a minor. Kyle Keegan of Rapid City, through a plea agreement, pled guilty to sexual conduct with a 15-year-old student.[viii]

  • A substitute physical education teacher and janitor at Ethan High School was convicted of sexting three explicit images of himself to three students. Tyler Myers received a 60-day suspended jail sentence for each count and was ordered to pay more than $800 in fines.[ix]

  • A seventh-grade geography teacher in the Huron School District, Thomas Wendelgass, was arrested for sending inappropriate pictures, including at least one naked picture of himself, to a former student on Snapchat. He was also convicted for possession of marijuana and LSD.[x]

  • Stacy Pudwill, a teacher in both South Dakota and North Dakota, was charged with seven counts of statutory rape with two girls. He bought lingerie for one of the girls, which was entered as evidence in the courtroom. One of the sexual encounters occurred at Mound City, S.D. In addition, an investigation was also conducted in Bison, S.D., where he taught for a year before moving to North Dakota.[xi]

  • A middle school teacher at St. Thomas More in Rapid City, Andrew Hiipakka, was arrested in an international sting that involved his possession and distribution of child pornography. In addition, the sting exposed his history of getting minors to undress for him in online chat rooms.[xii]

  • Gerry Heck of Isabel was sentenced for aggravated sexual abuse and sexual contact with a child who was 6 or 7 years old during a two-year time frame. At the time, Heck worked for Northwest Area Schools Educational Cooperative. He also was a former teacher and administrator at schools in Isabel and Bison.[xiii]

Experts estimate that fewer than 10% of rapes are reported. Only about 35% of reported rapes are prosecuted, only about 18% of prosecuted rapes are convicted.[xiv] This means that out of 1000 rapists, 994 will not be incarcerated.[xv]  These instances mean that there could be more than an additional 800 current and former South Dakota school employees involved in rape. When children are exposed to sexually explicit materials and grooming, the crimes of rape and sexual conduct are less likely to be discovered.[xvi]

From Hollywood to hometown American, children deserve to be protected from harmful materials, grooming, and rape. Contact your legislators with our sample legislation to close obscenity loopholes in your state and provide them with common sense reasons to take action.


[ii] Ibid.















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