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Three Mitchell men accused of sex crimes plead guilty

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News Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Three Mitchell men accused of sex crimes within a month-long span each pleaded guilty Tuesday to their separate charges. Joshua Bullis, 31, of Mitchell, pleaded guilty to first-degree rape during court at the Davison County Public Safety Center. The conviction carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison and a $50,000 fine. Plus, a judge can impose court fees, prosecution costs, restitution and court appointed attorney fees.

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Bullis was indicted in November for the rape charge, to which he originally pleaded not guilty in November.

According to court documents, Bullis sexually abused a young child while video chatting on the Internet between Aug. 14 and Nov. 5 at his home in Mitchell. According to a plea agreement, the state agreed to drop other charges of sexual contact with a child younger than 16 and manufacturing child pornography.

Peter McKeen, 42, of Mitchell, pleaded guilty to sexual contact with a child younger than 16. The conviction carries a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

McKeen was indicted in November for the charge. He admitted in court that he touched a young female for his own sexual gratification between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1.

Since he is convicted of the crime, McKeen will have to register as a sex offender, First Circuit Court Judge Tim Bjorkman said.

Dustin Chernotik, 19, of Mitchell, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape, which means the victim was between 13 and 16 years old and the perpetrator is more than three years older than the victim. The conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

According to a plea agreement, the state dropped a second fourth-degree rape charge.

Bjorkman ordered a psychosexual evaluation and a presentence investigation for each of the men, and scheduled each case for sentencing in March.

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