Behind the curve about a day or so, the Associated Press weighs in on the Sutton allegations

The Associated Press is reporting this morning on the allegations against Democratic State Senator Dan Sutton. And while they might be behind the curve, it's the AP. So, that means the story will soon go national:
The attorney general and state Senate leaders are investigating allegations of possible sexual misconduct involving a state lawmaker and an 18-year-old legislative page.

The father of the former page, believed to be a male, has accused Sen. Dan Sutton, D-Flandreau, of misconduct during the last legislative session, said Senate Democratic Leader Garry Moore of Yankton.

Moore and other officials would not discuss specifics of the allegation.

Sutton, who served one term in the state House and is finishing a third term in the Senate, did not return messages left Wednesday at his work and home.

His attorney, Mike Butler of Sioux Falls, said at a news conference that the accusations are an attempt to publicly destroy Sutton.

Butler said an investigator for the state Division of Criminal Investigation contacted Sutton during the legislative session last spring. Butler said he advised Sutton not to make a statement at the time because investigators made no specific accusations.

According to Sioux Falls television station KSFY, the Stanley County state's attorney said the investigation focused on an alleged incident at a Fort Pierre motel.


South Dakota Senate President Pro Tem Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, confirmed Wednesday that Sutton is the target of both a criminal and state Senate investigation involving an 18-year-old legislative page.

"As the presiding officer of the Senate, I got a complaint from parents of a page about a senator's conduct towards that page of a sexual nature during the session, and we take those things serious," Schoenbeck said.

"When a formal complaint like that's made, two things are going to happen. The person accused is going to be entitled to a hearing, if they want one, and we're going to take the complaint seriously. We're going to investigate it. It's going to run its course, whatever in the end that is.

"The senators feel very strongly about the page program, and any allegation of any improper conduct towards a page is going to be investigated and dealt with."

Schoenbeck said the allegations against Sutton have been the subject of a criminal investigation for months.

Read it all here at the Aberdeen American News' website.


Anonymous said…
I know both families and for those of you who know both the ALLEGED victim and the ALLEGED know the truth. Wiese made these allegations INITIALY right around the time he decided to run for govenor, but Sutton was still considering running for govenor. COINCIDENCE??? I think not.

Wiese knew (and so does everyone else) that he couldn't beat Sutton. Wiese reports this ALLEGATION a.k.a RUMOR to the authorities and they cant find ANYTHING after months and tons of interviews. Gimmie a break. If there was any truth to this crap they would have "cuffed and stuffed" Sutton by now.

It's all false, everyone from Suttons district knows that and when all the facts come will everyone else.

Give Sutton a break. Wait for the TRUTH!!!! And as far as I ALLEGATION is not nor ever has been a SYNONYM for FACT or TRUTH.
Disgusted Democrat said…
I hate to say it, but this is becoming a trial by media situation where people are assumed guilty until proven innocent. I hope theses allegations are true because of the damage it has done and will continue to do.

It's obviously not political since the people involved are all Democrats, but the timing of everything leaves a lot of questions to be answered.

How can you endorse someone for political office when you believe he has sexually abused your son? Would this issue be moot if Wiese was still running for governor?

It's a sad, sick situation where everyone involved loses.
Anonymous said…
This "criminal investigation" is a total joke. How could any prosecutor prove that someone was "groped" when there were only 2 people in the room? No physical evidence. The interviews were literally done months ago.

How long could this investigation possibly take when there are no witnesses and no evidence?

At this point, the Republican AG and his Republican colleagues are misusing the power of their offices for a smear campaign 3 weeks before the election(WITH NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER FOR A CRIMINAL CONVICTION) hoping to steal a safe Democratic senate seat as the Dems are threatening to take over the Senate.

This is a total abuse of the power of government!
Anonymous said…

Maybe you can shed some light on things, since you're in the know. Why would Wiese use his son in this way just to gain a little political advantage? And what would make him report it to Senate leadership after he's long gone from the Governor's race, if that was his motivation for reporting in the first place?

From my outsider/just reading news & blog reports view, it seems as though this is a father not wanting a pervert to get away with something. Mike Butler went on about how the families are such great friends. Why would Wiese try to ruin Sutton (and use his son) unless he believed the truth of the allegations?
Anonymous said…
Bloggers, while I enjoy your speculation about family relations and political motivations, perhaps you should consider the situation if it was your brother? Perhaps the only reason this is political is because Dan's a politician? And I agree, these are all allegations, but when they come from someone you love, in the middle of the night, with a shakey voice because he doesn't know what to do, they become something more. Wiese has every right to speak out because he truly believes his son, and why wouldn't he, or shouldn't he for that matter? As for what intitially happened, you all have no idea, and if you want to talk about speculation, perhaps you should all stop blogging about this topic?

As for criminal investigations still going on, you all have no idea, obviously.

So for those who say "you know the truth" because of family relations, I think you forgot that family relations ended the night Dan did this, in fact, I have yet to receive a call from him denying or explaining anything, and he was one my closest friends...coincidence? You are all so out of the loop that you are creating the very "trial by media" that you are disgusted by.

Regardless of the criminality of the situation, the legislature is still right to have a hearing to see if any rules were violated or misconduct occured.

A smear campaign...excellent defense until the victim speaks out and people realize that he had absolutey nothing to gain from this situation, in fact he lost a friend. The smear campaign works for now because it's easy to say Dennis has political motivations (albeit untrue), but why would his son? Maybe they didn't want to make it public initially for Dan's benefit, to give him a chance to repent, resign, or simply get help? All I ask is for you to consider that you are creating the very problem you write about. This is a politician facing a criminal charge...that's the ONLY reason its'll see.
Anonymous said…
One thing is for certain. This has to be tough for the kid, no matter what.
It also unintentionally makes another point. A tendency to blame the victim in a sexual abuse situation is why many female rape victims don't come forward right away.

Now do you guys get it?
Anonymous said…
10:21-you disgust me!
For the most part, everyone in the legislature respects one another. As a Republican, I can tell you that Dan has the highest respect from everyone including Republicans. To challenge that this is some sort of political stunt by certain Republicans is reprehensible and you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!!
Anonymous said…
You moron, who said family relations ended, how in the hell are you supposed to know these guy's situations. You need to get your facts straight and figure out the whole situation before you just say that family relations ended, because you have we have no clue what either of these guys's families think, and that is information that we shouldn't be entitleted to. Lets figure out everything before we say how things are.
Anonymous said…
Who ever said this kid is tough, really needs to get to know this kid, becuse if you knew him, you wouldn't call him tough, you would call him a puss. But ofcourse you would have to know the alleged victim first.
pdq said…
Anon 3;40, I suppose you think women who are raped are asking for it too?

What type of savage goes after the victim of a homosexual assault and calls him a puss?

PP, that's really out of line to allow here.
Anonymous said…
Anon 3:40
You can't defend Sutton so you smear his alleged victim? Sad. So very sad. And pretty darn pathetic.
I agree with 3:47, your comment was out of line no matter which party you belong to and it should be deleted. This kid doesn't need to be victimized again.
Anonymous said…
Wow, this sorry, sordid thing has gone from slamming elected officials to slamming a high school student. Shame.
Anonymous said…
3:40 - Perhaps you misunderstood my remark that this has to be tough for the kid. I meant tough, as in difficult for him - not that he himself is tough. So what's your point in making it more difficult for him?

Your remark is a classic example of why sexual abuse and sexual assault victims are reluctant to come forward.

Blaming the victim. Can you crawl any lower?
Anonymous said…
Lets put it for you this way, if you know this kid, who is actually an adult, from the view point of someone his OWN age, then you will know that he has shown no remorse and I mean NO remorse for what he has done. I have actually talked to this kid and know his thoughts and he gets a sick pleasure out of this, so unless you talk to him and see the way he treats the people close to the situation, with his sense of arrogance and cockiness, you have no right to comment on people his own age telling you the god awful truth. Get to know the victim and the situation and then you can talk to me after it all is over and see who is right.

anon 3:40
Anonymous said…
Now you've lost me. Exactly who do you consider to be the victim here who has no remorse for what he has done?
Anonymous said…
I'm in the know, in fact you could even say that i am closer than that. I have known Dan my whole life and he has never been the "pervert or rapist" that you are all referring to him as. He's been a good, kind-hearted man and a devoted catholic. He would never do anything like this in his wildest dreams. As for "the page", ivwe known him for a long time as well. Dan knew this kid his whole life. This 18 year old was more than a guest in Dan's home, this kid was over there almost everytime i was it seemed. Your telling me that Dan suddenly got an uncontrolable urge while the two were shareing a room together ( with the kids' parents approval of course). This kids older brother was in Dan's wedding party for goodness shakes. You think Dan would be stupid enough to risk everything for this one kid.
I even know that some of the Wiese family isnt even behind Dennis on this issue, that's that sad part.
Joan said…
Everything about this situation is sad, but you have to remember that this would not be the first time that someone, who everyone considered to be upright, wonderful, etc., surprised people by doing something they believed was totally out of character.

That is not to say that I automatically believe that Sutton did that, but it would be highly unusual for any guy to publicly accuse someone else of something like that. Most of them would do anything they could to keep people from finding that out due to embarrassment.

I don't know this kid, but what some people believe is arrogance and cockiness might be a defense mechanism to cover up embarrassment and humiliation.

I almost hope it is true because it is really tragic if it is not due to the damage that has been done to Sutton's reputation. I also hope that Wiese did everything possible to urge Sutton to get help before blowing the lid on this deal.

We need to keep all of them in our prayers and hope neither party does anything else that is foolish or anything that is irreversible. Enough people have been hurt already.
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with Joan. Everything about this case is sad, much the same as everything about the Mark Foley case is sad. Democrats have tried to make political hay over the Foley deal but are strangely silent when all involved in this sordid affair are Democrats.

There was no actual sex involved in either of these cases, unlike the Studds deal where he WAS having sex with his page. Since Studds was a Democrat from Massachusetts, that got him re-elected FIVE more times!

That isn't just sad, that is sick.
Joan said…
I don't know that it is fair to compare the Foley situation with this one. For one thing, Foley resigned his seat, which was pretty much an admission of guilt, of at least some degree. Foley also had several people who knew about his behavior.

In the Sutton situation, however, it is one person's word against the other's.

I have heard other Democrats chastise Sutton on another web site for what they believe happened. None of the Democrats that I've heard comment on this situation are saying what happened was okay, if it indeed happened.

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