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Dahme sentenced to 30 years in prison

The former youth athletics coach convicted of sexual misconduct with a child was sentenced Tuesday to three decades behind bars.

Ronald Arthur Dahme, 45, received 30 years in the state penitentiary for his conviction on three counts of sexual contact with a child younger than 16. The sentencing came Tuesday in Davison County court.

Judge Tim Bjorkman sentenced Dahme to 15 years in prison, with five years suspended, on each of the three counts. He pleaded guilty to the reduced charges in July.

"Your conduct is going to have a chilling effect on many lives down the road," Bjorkman said before handing down the sentence. "These acts clearly took place for at least a decade, so that was a conscious choice to take advantage of young lives which occurred and reoccurred and reoccurred.

"There is nothing but brokenness when I look at this case -- your life and the victim's life."

Davison County State's Attorney Pat Smith said he was satisfied with the judge's decision. Smith said Dahme already received a reduction when the other charges against him were dropped and Smith believes the judge measured that when pronouncing sentence.

"Sentencing is never a happy time, but I am satisfied and pleased that the court considered the seriousness of the situation and handed down a harsh sentence," said Smith.

Defense attorney Mike Butler, of Sioux Falls, refused to comment after the sentencing.

In the courtroom Tuesday were Dahme supporters, friends and family. In the front row sat his parents, who were visibly upset throughout the sentencing.

Butler said before sentencing that Dahme was a model citizen in all respects and asked the judge to consider the positives his client has done for the community.

"We ask that you (the judge) balance this decision with the thought that this man can be a good member of this society," Butler said. "I do hope that all the good he has done will not be voided out."

During Smith's argument, he pointed out that the sentence should send a strong message that the Mitchell community will not tolerate these types of offenses.

While reading a statement to the court prior to sentencing, Dahme wept and appeared remorseful as he apologized to victims, family, and friends.

"I am very ashamed and embarrassed by what I have done to each of you young men," Dahme said. "I didn't mean to harm you in any way. I am truly, very, very sorry and I hope some day you will find it in your hearts to forgive me."

Before sentencing, Bjorkman said Dahme "appeared to be a model citizen, which makes it even more frightening."

Dahme was remanded to the custody of the Davison County Sheriff's Office pending transportation to the state penitentiary.

The first eligible parole date for Dahme will be September 2026, according to Bjorkman.

In a July plea agreement, two counts of third-degree rape and five additional counts of sexual contact with a child were dropped by the state.

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