ABERDEEN, S.D. — An Aberdeen man convicted of raping a 6-year-old girl was sentenced Wednesday, July 17, to 120 years in prison.
Jerren D. Manning, 31, was convicted at trial in May on two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of sexual contact with a child under the age of 16.
At the request of Brown County State’s Attorney Chris White, Judge Scott Myren sentenced Manning only on the rape charges. White said the rape and sexual contact charges involved the same sets of facts. Defense attorney Brandon Taliaferro asked the judge to vacate the sexual contact convictions, which did not happen.
According to court documents and information at trial, the victim was raped between June 2017 and September 2018 in the office or a bedroom of the victim’s home. Jurors determined that Manning touched the victim with his genitals.
The girl, now 7, testified at trial that Manning put his “private part” in her “bottom.”
Manning was a member of the girl’s parents’ wedding party, the victim’s father testified at trial, and would offer to babysit the couple’s children.
White pushed for a tougher sentence because the case involved several instances over a year and because he said Manning has taken “zero responsibility” for his actions.
Taliaferro said Manning continues to maintain his innocence, which put him in a catch-22 during his psychosexual evaluation. In maintaining his innocence and not claiming responsibility, Taliaferro said, Manning scored at a higher risk as a possible reoffender.
Manning also maintained his innocence during brief comments in court during which he agreed with his attorney’s recommended sentence.
“I didn’t do it, your honor,” he said. “My life is in God’s hand and it’s in your hands.”
Prior to sentencing, Myren said, he supports a person’s right to take a case to trial. But once convicted, there needs to be some ownership in the conclusion reached by the jury, Myren said.
The rape charges had a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life. White recommended 50 years on each charge and asked that the terms be consecutive. Taliaferro asked for 15 years on each charge and that the terms be served at the same time.
Myren deviated from both requests, sentencing Manning to 60 years on each charge giving him credit for 184 days served. Those terms will be served consecutively. Manning must pay fines and court costs of $213, plus restitution of $4,623 for the costs of expert testimony and his psychosexual evaluation. He is also responsible for future counseling costs incurred by the victim.