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Seven men arrested in August for sex crimes against minors

Two brothers were indicted on Aug. 16 for the alleged sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl in August 2017 in Wagner.

While their charges are some of the most serious in the region recently, the brothers represent two of the seven total men arrested for sexual offenses against minors in The Daily Republic's coverage region in August.

"Crimes that involve allegations of sexual contact or statutory rape or similar-type offenses seem, in my experience, to be somewhat cyclical," Davison County State's Attorney Jim Miskimins said. "There may be a trend where those types of charges are more prevalent in one year, but then the following year, the occurrence rate tends to go down and then back up. I don't know that there's any reliable data that would support concluding why that may be."

Miskimins said he could not speculate more on how last month's number of offenses compares to other months or years without more data, but that he did not think it was abnormal to see several similar arrests occur so close together.

Darren Lehrkamp, 25, is charged with sexual contact with a child under 13. His brother, Bradford Lehrkamp, 35, faces the same charge, in addition to one of first-degree rape of a child less than 13, a Class C felony that could send him to prison for life, if convicted. Law enforcement was notified of the accusations against the brothers by a mandatory reporter, and arrest warrants for the Lehrkamps were issued on Aug. 16 and returned on Aug. 20, making them the fifth and sixth people arrested that month for sex offenses against minors in the area.

Both had a habitual offender with one prior felony charge added to their case files, as Bradford Lehrkamp had been convicted of simple assault on a law enforcement officer on May 14, and Darren Lehrkamp was convicted of a third-offense DUI last September. A habitual offender charge does not carry a felony classification on its own, but it increases the severity of each charge by one classification level (up to a Class C felony), making the maximum sentence for each charge higher upon conviction.

In addition to the Lehrkamps being arrested for alleged offenses in Charles Mix County, four men were arrested in Davison County and one was arrested in Hutchinson County in August for additional sex offenses against minors.

In total, those seven men face 10 felony charges: one charge of first-degree rape, one charge of possession, distribution or manufacturing of child pornography, two charges of fourth-degree rape, two charges of solicitation of a minor and four charges of sexual contact with a child under 16.

Miskimins said that in some cases, it can be difficult for a prosecutor to decide what to charge each alleged offender with. For example, there are instances where consensual activity may have occurred between two people with an age difference just slightly larger than the three years allowed by the law — an offense which is classified as fourth-degree rape — and there are others in which an alleged victim may decide they no longer want to prosecute, for a variety of reasons.

"Each case is considered on its own merit, and those numerous and varied factors on each individual case all come into play," Miskimins said.