Sex crimes against children reported in Mitchell
Six Mitchell residents have been arrested this month for sex crimes against children. Detective Lt. Don Everson, of the Mitchell Police Division, said the string of events is unusual.
“Sometimes it’s reported in streaks, not for any particular rhyme or reason,” he said. “Sometimes a child victim tells someone or others report an incident.”
He said people shouldn’t be worried but should be vigilant, and should pay attention to a child’s behavior and unusual interactions between a child and others. “You can’t always prevent this type of thing, but you can see if other activity is going on,” he said. If someone determines something illegal like rape or sexual contact with a child is happening, Everson said to contact law enforcement immediately.
“Do it in such a way as not to let the suspect know,” he said. “And you should prevent a child from having any contact with the suspect.”
Perhaps the most shocking recent case is that of Joshua James Lee Bullis, 31, who is accused of performing sexual acts with a toddler between August and the present.
Bullis was arrested Nov. 5 after a tip to the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force launched the investigation, according to court documents. The tip information included several screen shots of one or more video chat sessions showing a young nude child sitting on an adult male’s lap. The adult male’s face was not shown. Additional screen shots from other chat sessions showed adult male genitalia.
The screen shots included an IP address for a computer at Bullis’ apartment in Mitchell.
During an interview with Mitchell police, Bullis admitted to engaging in at least seven separate video chat sessions on the Internet that involved him and a toddler, according to court documents.
He told police he engaged in at least one sexual act with a child. This and other sexual acts were captured using a Web camera. The videos streamed live on the Internet and were viewed by other Internet users.
Bullis is charged with three felonies — first-degree rape, sexual contact with a child younger than 16 and possession/manufacturing of child pornography. He faces up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine if convicted on the rape charge.
Another man was arrested Nov. 7 for sexually assaulting his grade-school aged child.
Peter LeRoy McKeen, 42, is charged with sexual contact with a child younger than 16, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.
He is accused of rubbing a child’s bare genitals with his hand when he was “really drunk,” according to court documents. The accusation emerged when the child’s mother reported an incident to a doctor. The child related the incident to a forensic interviewer.
According to court documents, McKeen admitted to inappropriately touching a child about one month ago. He said while the child was sleeping, he lied down next to and inappropriately touched the child.
A third man is charged with raping and sexually assaulting a juvenile male.
Scott Allen Genzler, 36, is accused of fourth-degree rape — which means the victim was between 13 and 16 years old and the suspect was more than three years older than the victim — along with sexual contact with a child younger than 16 and possession of marijuana.
He was arrested Nov. 6 after a report was filed with the Mitchell Police Division that Genzler had inappropriate sexual contact with a juvenile male. Documents state Genzler had been assaulting the male since Sept. 1, by touching his bare and clothed genitals more than five but less than 10 times.
Genzler is also accused of performing oral sex on the victim on at least five but less than 10 occasions.
During a search of Genzler’s apartment, police found less than 2 ounces of marijuana in a baggie.
Fourth-degree rape and sexual contact with a child younger than 16 each carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.
Three other men are charged with statutory rape of one girl.
Dustin James Chernotik, 18, River Johannes Malatare, 19, and Lane Allen Henrichsen, 20, are each charged with fourth-degree rape, which means the victim was between 13 and 16 years old and the suspects are more than three years older than the victim.
Everson, of the Mitchell Police Division, said police were investigating a report of a runaway when they were informed there was illegal sexual activity. He said the girl apparently met all three men on Facebook and engaged in sexual activity, but not while she was a runaway.