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Plankinton man gets 55 years in child rape case

PLANKINTON -- A 36-year-old Plankinton man was sentenced last week to serve 55 years in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of child sex abuse.

A jury convicted Ernest Albert Fisher Jr. after a three-day trial in February in Mitchell.

He was found guilty of one count of first-degree rape, three counts of third-degree rape, two counts of fourth-degree rape and two counts of sexual contact with a child younger than 16.

Fisher was sentenced to 60 years in prison with five years suspended for first-degree rape by District Judge Sean O'Brien on April 18 in Plankinton at the Aurora County Courthouse.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent prison terms for the remaining charges.

For each count of third-degree rape, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with five years suspended. For each count of fourth-degree rape and each count of sexual contact with a child younger than 16, Fisher was sentenced to 25 years in prison with five years suspended.

The conviction arose from accusations Fisher sexually abused the underage victim numerous times in 2006 and 2007.

Fisher was convicted of similar charges for the same incidents in September 2008, but an appeal to the Supreme Court resulted in a retrial.

The victim's testimony during the retrial revealed the abuse may have been occurring as early as 2002.

The abuse was reported to law enforcement in 2007.

Fisher has one prior sexual contact conviction relating to an incident in 1994 when, at 18 years old, he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old female.

He is currently incarcerated at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

Fisher has 30 days to appeal the conviction once the judgment is filed.