Argus Leader: Senator identified - Dan Sutton

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has an article this morning on the brewing controversy in the state senate. And it's naming names:
The South Dakota Attorney General's Office and Senate leaders are investigating allegations of wrongdoing involving a state lawmaker and an 18-year-old legislative page, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The father of a former page has accused Sen. Dan Sutton, D-Flandreau, of misconduct during the last legislative session, according to state Sen. Garry Moore.

and..

Schoenbeck, who wouldn't talk about his letter, did say the parent of a page complained to him last week about the inappropriate behavior of a state senator.

"Under Senate rules, it's my job to be the first one to deal with that," he said.

"I would not express an opinion about the truthfulness of the allegation," he added. "That's why we have a hearing process in the Senate."

In his letter addressed to Sutton, Moore indicated that Sutton may have violated legislative rules by failing to notify Senate leaders of the accusation.

"I know you can understand that since these allegations involve misconduct relating to pages, it is a serious matter," the letter states.

The letter also said, "I am proposing to the Executive Board that the rules surrounding pages and their associations with legislators be studied and revamped."

And the letter indicated that "the Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into these allegations."

When asked about Moore's letter, Attorney General Larry Long said, "There is a criminal investigation, and I'm not going to talk."

Schoenbeck said he was aware of a criminal investigation, but he didn't know its status.

Both Schoenbeck and Moore say they are making proposals to revamp South Dakota's page program.

Read it all here.

I'll open up comments, but please don't speculate to the alleged victim's identity. And please keep it civil.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I guess we know what will happen to any 2010 potential gubentorial candidates. Schoenbeck or some other political operative will find some scandal, wait for the right moment and release it to the press. PP, at least you had the class not to release it. If Sen. Sutton did this, he should be out. but let the system work.
What if the investigation turns up nothing? Will Schoenbeck resign?
Anonymous said…
8:33
You'd be the same idiot accusing Schoenbeck of a cover up if he did nothing. He received a compaint and actually did something about it. The problem here is not with Sen. Schoenbeck or even the Democrat party... it is with one Senator.
Anonymous said…
What about Stephanie stamping her feet and demanding that Speaker Hastert resign last week because of a page scandal??? Where is Princess Stephanie now????
Anonymous said…
The Argus Leader has known about this for a long time PP....why haven't they reported it until now? Because the Senator is a Democrat
VJ said…
With everything that has happened on the National level concerning Pages, Sen. Schoenbeck and also the Democrat party handled it correctly.

I don't think either one had a choice or they would of been torn apart by the media.

I just hope everyone understands that this is "alleged" to have happened. And as most of us realize, there is always two sides to every story. But the one side I have heard so far sure doesn't seem to be too good!
Anonymous said…
8:44 How do you know how long the Argus knew about this. do you know how long the other Senators have known? It happens last winter and the Dad just now contacts Sen. Lee?hmmmmm.The timing of it all looks a bit suspicious, but the fact remains the allegations are very serious. Lets wait for the verdict to come out.
Anonymous said…
are you trying to say that Gary Moore just "heard" about this???
Anonymous said…
this is another big victory for the blogs....the Argus knew about this last spring but chose to bury the story to protect a Democrat...if it was Mike Rounds, they would have put it all over the front page you can bet on that
chad said…
I think PP knew about this months ago as well.

And I think the reason why no one said anything about it until now is much more complex than what the Argus story said or what is commented here.
Anonymous said…
I have heard the saying that what happens in Pierre during a legislative session stays in Pierre. Is that the good old boys protecting their own on both sides of the political spectrum? I daresay this was know about earlier and I would like to know why it took so long to come to light.
oldguy said…
I for one agree with Chad and feel like it is being handled right. I also feel this points out what a problem this really is EVERYWHERE.
nonnie said…
My daugher served as a page about 10 years ago. It is a wonderful program and wonderful chance for kids to learn firsthand about the political process. I would hope if the program is revamped that it's still left as the great opportunity it is now. One bad apple shouldn't spoil this for everyone.
Theron said…
This is definately more complex than anyone has reported.

The allegations were reported to the authorities months ago and an investigation ensued.
http://www.sdprogressive.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=440&Itemid=2
Anonymous said…
8:44

Your argument makes no sense. If the Argus was trying to protect the Democrats they would have leaked this story right away rather than 3 weeks prior to the election. That would have given the Democrats time to have him resign and get a fill-in candidate.
Anonymous said…
I find it interesting that Schoenbeck states that if Dan resigns then this will all go away. He seems to want to make this a political gain while Moore seems to want to get at the truth. Kinda sad.
Anonymous said…
There's a criminal investigation going on, people...Personally, if I was the parent, I wouldn't want all the politicos batting this around, smearing my child and making sure a pervert gets off the hook, all in the name of politics. Everyone should sit back and let the criminal investigation be completed so if a crime has been committed, it can be punished. It is being handled correctly, for the public, for the rest of the pages--past and future, but especially for the child who was the victim.

(and by the way...I'm anonymous not because I'm Chicken @#$*, but because I don't want to screw around with all the crap of registering)
Anonymous said…
What's the deal with people trying to turn this into something Schoenbeck did wrong?

9:55

If a State Senator resigns, it makes the procedures and investigation surrounding alleged rule violations not matter anymore.

I think you're dreaming if you think Schoenbeck can make the criminal investigation by the AG go away. That will "go away" only if there's not enough evidence to show that a crime was committed.
mhs said…
PP, well done! A bona fide scoop.

. . . all the above conspiracy theories notwithstanding. Can't wait for Bonnie Russell to accuse you as being part of a cover-up. What exactly did you know and when and where's your black helicopter parked?
Anonymous said…
it's not a scoop when he choose to conduct a classic whisper campaign on something that was under investigation by the authorities months ago. Good job PP. You have now demonstrated that you are on the same level of trash writing as the National Enquirer.
Anonymous said…
Just remember people, this is alleged and if this has been going on for months I'm guessing that they dont have any "Tight" evidence or it wouldn't have been going on this far and remember timing timing timing....right before the primaries as I have read here and right before the election hmmmmmmmmmmm....anyone else think thats a coinkidink???
Anonymous said…
9:18
Your an idiot......this is all for lee's attempt to plot out his run for G1 in 4 years......and so it begins for the Lee for gov campaign.
Anonymous said…
Sorry 9:18 that comment was meant for 10:09
Anonymous said…
Thank you, I agree anonymous with the 22nd post. This is just to smere Dan's name in my opinion and try to stop him from running in 2010 ALOT can happen between now and then...let the chips fall as they may but remember he is still INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY and may still be on that 2010 ballot we'll know someday I guess.
Anonymous said…
He may have done something inappropriate due to his position...but since when is an 18-year-old a child??
Anonymous said…
wow there's more smart people out there than I thought. I figured everyone would jump on the cruicfy him band wagon! good for you 11:07
PP said…
Okay now that people have had a chance to vent, a few things..

Yes, (if you haven't noticed) I will delete allegations against other legislators unless you can provide a factual basis for it documented in writing.

As far as people having known about it for months, I think my fellow blogger at CCK, Chad put it best:

"the reason why no one said anything about it until now is much more complex than what the Argus story said or what is commented here."

I think he's dead on in his assessment.

Part of the problem is that since the page is supposedly 18, you technically are dealing with what may or may not have gone on between two adults. As Garry Moore noted, it's a he-said, he-said situation. Short of a forcible criminal act, I don't think any local prosecutor is going to touch that case with a ten foot pole.

While I have no evidence to cite on this assumption, the rumor mill did allude to the fact that a prosecutor (I have no idea who) looked into it, and came to this conlusion

Criminal allegations aside, what we DO allegedly have, is a situation between a Legislator, and a subordinate (i.e., a page.) In this case, there may be a violation of joint rules. I'm guessing they're going to look at 1A-4.

1A-4 states - Sexual harassment prohibited. All members are responsible for ensuring that the workplace is free from sexual harassment. All members shall avoid any action or conduct which could be
viewed as sexual harassment. A member shall report any sexual harassment complaint to the
presiding officer of the house to which the member belongs. If the situation is not resolved, the
member shall forward the complaint to the Executive Board of the Legislative Research Council.

Until a complaint had been initiated at the level of the legislature, they had no grounds to act. At ths time the father of the page sent in a complaint, there was no question about what had to be done.

There's no ulterior motives. There's no politics involved. The complaint was made last week, the issuance of allegations were made last week, and here we are.

The complaint process might be new to everyone, but give it an opportunity to move forward before you start throwing stones on the basis of partisanship.
Anonymous said…
10:47/10:51

I assume you mean me (10:04) when you say "your an idiot" (sic). What is Schoenbeck suppose to do? Why don't you fill us in on what exactly he should be doing when presented with this problem.
Anonymous said…
I sure hope Stephi calls for Sutton to resign.

The FBI has conducted over 40 interviews in the Mark Foley scandal and has not found one incident of sexual contact.

Where's Stephi now?

Probably where all the other Dems were when Gerry Studs was having sex with underage male pages.

Act now Stephi or we will know you are only motivated by politics or we always knew and you will confirm it.
Todd Epp said…
I think PP acted responsibly in this matter. And he was apparently the first one, apparently, in either the press or the blogs, to obtain actual documents about what everyone was whispering about. It wasn't until he had documents that he moved forward with any meaningful details.

And again, it appears that there will be (or is) an official investigation of some sort going on and that process must be allowed to be conducted without partisanship or favor. These are serious, life-changing accusations for the principals involved. Everyone has an interest in it being done right. But is this a story worth pursuing? Absolutely.
Todd Epp said…
Apparently I use apparently too much in my sentences.
Jackson said…
The discussions over at Epp's own blog seem more to the point. This whole matter was raised in the context of partisan politics, it was developed with an emphasis on partisan politics, and as it snowballs, it picks up all the detritus of partisan politics.

All the stuff about the press, blogs, and letting the public know doesn't do much more than provide emphasis to the fact that this is partisan politics.
Anonymous said…
Who will hold the Argus Leader accountable for burying this story for six months?? they were only forced to cover it by the blogs
feasant said…
This is not partisan politics! I don't want to seem cruel but I hope Danny Sutton is guilty because everyone has him hung.
Anonymous said…
So when are we going to get to see the letters?

Since the senator's identity has been revealed, are you going to give us the goods, PP?
Anonymous said…
ARE YOU KIDDING!?!?! You same liberals charging that this smells of partisan politics were going batty over a shockingly identical situation that involved a Republican a month ago.

This is exactly why you have no credibility except in your very small and ever-shrinking circle. Thank you for having two sets of standards and not even trying to hide it. You lose.
Anonymous said…
I find it ironic that Larry Long will confirm an investigation in this instance - when he wouldn't confirm one in the Bob Sahr fiasco. Does it matter that Sahr is an R and Sutton is a D? Did we ever hear a final conclusion on the Sahr issue? Talk about cover-ups and partisan politics.
Anonymous said…
This is a criminal case--which the AG investigates. The other one wasn't criminal so no AG investigation and nothing for Long to confirm/deny.
Anonymous said…
Wrong - there was an investigation housed out of the AG's office on Sahr. That's a fact.
Bob Newland said…
The alleged victim is J.P. Duniphan.
Anonymous said…
Sahr's or Sutton's?
Anonymous said…
Newland's.
Anonymous said…
to 8:39 AM
While I (anon 8:33) may be an idiot, I would not accuse Schoenbeck of a cover up. Further what did he do? Send a threatening letter saying resign or I will make this public? You think that is leadership? What a crock. Contrary to your statements, the problem is with Sen. Schoenbeck (and possibly Sutton too). It is fair game to question Schoenbeck's motives.
He wants to be Governor. Brining this ALLEGATION to the front will ruin Sutton's career. Until the matter has been investigated, it should remain private to protect all parties involved.
Anonymous said…
I an a Repubican...but I think Schoenbeck will create a witch hunt for the next four years on everything from Sutton to who pissed on the tree on the capital grounds to get his name in the paper.
Witch hunt = Schoenbeck for Gov 2010.
Anonymous said…
More liberal bitterness. Listen, bitches. Think Mark Foley! Were you mad at any democrats in that one? No, you were mad at Republicans. Mad about "a cover up." Where is your ire that the democrats knew about this for months and did nothing about it? You're so busy spinning, you fail to realize this is almost exactly the same situation, only with a "D" behind the name this time.

So, if you're going to be mad at Schoenbeck for intervening when a Senator was alleged to have had some sort of inappropriate contact with a minor, you've got egg all over your faces. Let's see. Princess Stephanie called for the Republican leader in the House to resign, so now that a similar situation has happened in our back yard, it's time to start calling for democrat leadership to resign. First up? Senator Moore.

Sure, that's ridiculous, but so is every other bit of liberal "logic."

Think before you speak (or type). Fact is, Schoenbeck did exactly what he was obligated to do. He's neither the good guy or bad guy. He simply did his job.
chad said…
This was in the hands of law enforcement -- where it belonged for "months and months"

There was no coverup. It was in the hands of law enforcement.

Contrast that to the Foley situation.

No action from Republican leadership for years despite their knowledge of Foley's "problem"

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