Wagner man charged with sexual abuse of a minor, faces 15 years in federal prison

After entering his plea, the man was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until a trial for the matter will begin in August.

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The District of South Dakota's Southern Division handles cases out of the United States Court House in Sioux Falls.
Mitchell Republic file photo

SIOUX FALLS — A Wagner man is facing up to 15 years in federal prison after he allegedly engaged and attempted to engage in sexual acts with a girl who was under the age of 16.

Zander Zephier, 21, of Wagner, was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of abusive sexual contact. On June 8, he pleaded not guilty in federal court to all counts.

The indictment alleges that on approximately Jan. 1, Zephier engaged and attempted to engage in sexual acts and sexual contact with a minor female who was under 16-years-old.

The alleged acts occurred within the bounds of the Yankton Reservation, and was reported to Yankton Sioux Law Enforcement, whose investigation was assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If convicted, the U.S. Department of Justice said Zephier could be sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison, as well as be ordered to pay up to $250,000 in fines plus a $300 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may additionally be ordered.


After entering his plea, Zephier was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. A trial for the matter has been set to begin Aug. 16.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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