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Mitchell man arrested for rape gets 11 days for reduced charge

A Mitchell man charged more than a year ago with raping an unconscious woman was sentenced Tuesday to 11 days in jail for a reduced charge. Nicholas Cronk, 23, of Mitchell, will receive credit toward a 20-day sentence for the nine days he served ...

A Mitchell man charged more than a year ago with raping an unconscious woman was sentenced Tuesday to 11 days in jail for a reduced charge.

Nicholas Cronk, 23, of Mitchell, will receive credit toward a 20-day sentence for the nine days he served following his Jan. 31, 2018, arrest, a Davison County court determined.

"To say he learned a hard lesson the hard way might be an understatement," Cronk's attorney, R.J. Rylance, said prior to sentencing.

Cronk pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual contact without consent with a person capable of consent, a Class 1 misdemeanor for which he could have been sentenced to up to one year.

According to court documents filed last year, Cronk had been at his Mitchell residence with the victim on the night of Jan. 23. Cronk was arrested on allegations that he had raped the woman while she was unconscious due to intoxication.

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Originally, Cronk was charged with one count of third-degree rape, a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

In June of 2018, he accepted a plea agreement with the state and pleaded guilty to sexual contact with someone incapable of giving consent, a Class 4 felony. Two months later, he changed his plea to that charge to not guilty, as he refused to admit guilt to the level that would have been required by the plea agreement.

In a second plea agreement, Cronk's charge was reduced for a second time to the misdemeanor sexual contact offense. Cronk declined to make a statement on the case before sentencing.

"The court believes this is probably the most appropriate resolution to this matter," Judge Chris Giles said.

Cronk has until Saturday to turn himself in to the Davison County Sheriff's Office to serve the remaining 11 days of his jail sentence. He has been authorized for work release during his jail time.

Additionally, Cronk was ordered to pay $2,027.30 in restitution and a $500 fine and to repay court-appointed attorney's fees.

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