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Western South Dakota ex-police chief pleads guilty to sexual contact with minor

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- A former Whitewood police chief is awaiting sentencing in two counties after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual contact with a minor under the age of 16.

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RAPID CITY, S.D. - A former Whitewood police chief is awaiting sentencing in two counties after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual contact with a minor under the age of 16.

Ben Koens, 69, of Belle Fourche, pleaded guilty to one of the charges on Nov. 8 in Butte County, and to the other on Dec. 4 in Lawrence County.

The victim was the same person in both cases, court records show. The incident in Butte County allegedly occurred between 2015 and 2018, when the girl was between the age of 9 and 12. In Lawrence County, the sexual contact allegedly occurred between 2014 and 2015, when the girl was between 8 and 10 years old.

Koens is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28 in Butte County and Jan. 29 in Lawrence County. He faces up to 15 years in prison for each count.

As part of the plea deals, prosecutors dropped four counts of first-degree rape against a child under the age of 13, court records show.

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In September 2011, before any of the abuse allegedly occurred, Koens was fired from his position as the Whitewood police chief ; a reason for his firing was not given.

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