Recent Mitchell graduate enters plea in sex case

When investigators interviewed the man prior to arresting him, he allegedly told authorities he was aware other students had followed and “were watching” the two inside the storage room.

The Davison County Public Safety Center serves as the home for county lockup. (Matt Gade/Republic)
The Davison County Public Safety Center.
We are part of The Trust Project.

MITCHELL — A recent Mitchell High School graduate who was charged with allegedly having sexual contact with a juvenile inside a storage room at MHS pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Jerzy Hartman, 18, pleaded not guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and contributing to abuse, neglect or delinquency during Davison County felony court proceedings.

According to the arrest affidavit, Hartman, who graduated Sunday, allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a juvenile on April 20 inside a publicly accessible storage area at the MHS building.

During the investigation, a student who witnessed the incident informed authorities that the sexual contact between the two was filmed by a student who later deleted the video.

When investigators interviewed Hartman prior to arresting him on April 21, Hartman allegedly told authorities that he was aware other students had “followed (Hartman) and the juvenile” and “were watching” the two inside the storage room.


Sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class 6 felony that carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine, while abuse, neglect or delinquency is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
What To Read Next
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.
Members Only
After the departure of longtime superintendent Marje Kaiser and the hiring of Dan Trefz, who recently resigned, advocates say the specialty school needs help from lawmakers to reach its past heights.
Over the past year, the city has been mulling over bringing a secondary water source to Mitchell – a move Mayor Bob Everson said is aimed at positioning the city to grow.
At issue was the attendance at a legislative conference in Hawaii last December by Spencer Gosch and Jamie Smith.