Changes are coming in the Legislative page program

KCCR Radio is reporting that we can expect some changes in the State's legislative page program after recent incidents involving Democratic Senator Dan Sutton, and Republican Representative Ted Klaudt:
There have been calls to review the program since former Representative Ted Klaudt was arrested last week on 14 criminal charges, including eight second degree rape charges. Prosecutors say some of the charges occurred with legislative pages in Klaudt’s hotel room during the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions.

and...

State Senator Bob Gray of Pierre, who is on the LRC Executive Board, believes the page program is strong and that it is a safe program overall. But he says these issues have to be addressed.

After the Sutton case, rules were implemented requiring that legislative officials know where pages are staying if they are not living in state sponsored housing. Gray says other changes could also be made to the program.
Read it all here. Changes in the page program? Imagine that.

Comments

edumicated idjit said…
Its too late to lock the barn door after the horses have run away. Putting rules in place so that adults can't molest, or attempt to molest minors doesn't take a Mensa graduate. If people would only act responsibly in the first place this would be unnecessary. Does anyone really believe that these two alleged perpetrators would have acted differently if there were additional ethical or moral rules in place? Maybe the Legislature needs a year break from the page program and in this way maybe they'll understand why those young people are there in the first place, to experience government first hand, and not to serve as pawns or playthings.
Anonymous said…
It's sad to have to change a program like this, but it is now necessary.

The root source of legislators abusing their relationships with pages is their concept of empowerment over the individual page. Depending on the personality and psychological makeup of the legislator, that sense of entitlement to power is where the trouble starts. In other words, the perps who abuse the relationship are on an ego trip and they don't believe there should be boundaries, even when it involves high school students.

Can abuses be eliminated forever? Obviously, no. Abusers will always be with us.

But what can we do to further contain or remove a wrong sense of entitlement so that it does not damage another young person -- and without reducing the quality of the educational experience for the young pages?

An effective reform, I think, should start with who controls the line of authority over the pages both on the job and after hours. The program should be removed from any oversight or control by legislators and their leadership. A third party organization (such as the American Legion or SDEA) should recruit and manage pages, including where they stay and who brings them to Pierre and takes them home.

The program needs to be entirely divorced from any sense of entitlement and control by the lawmakers. And, yes, this means that legislators will no longer be able to brag about getting kids in their district positions in the page program. The ego trip has got to end when it comes to the page program, or we should eliminate it entirely.
Anonymous said…
I think the comments about "entitlement" are way off base.

A pervert is a pervert. It doesn't matter if it's a page, or the kid down the street.

Part of the dynamics of this issue, is that the pervert is away from home.

In both cases, the parties involved knew each other. Even with rules in place, would the page have not been allowed to stay with Klaudt? She lived with him before she ever came to Pierre with him. Obviously, the new rules would exclude blood relatives, so would a foster child be exempt as well?

Before we move into a full knee-jerk reaction, this needs to be looked at realistically, not politically.
Anonymous said…
Anon 10:21

Your rejection of "entitlement" is a bit odd. You either have no idea of the egos of these legislators (not all of them, but a lot of them), or you are being defensive.

Perps do what they do because it IS all about power and their insatiable self-esteem. They are opportunists who are constantly on the hunt for prey. When they are given a title as a lawmaker and the cover it affords, they are apt to grab full advantage of it ... and that includes access to kids and potential sexual partners.

Again, it is not likely that we can prevent perps from getting elected. But we can take measures to remove kids from the predatory opportunity that the lawmaker/page relationship creates.
Anonymous said…
Both of the victims over the past two years had relationships with the legislators before they ever came to Pierre.

How could that have been prevented?
Anonymous said…
With having friends interning and paging in Pierre and being out there myself, you always heard to stay a way from Ted K. So that means the other Senators and Reps. knew that he was dangerous and capable of doing something like that. Why didn't they try to do something before? It is just like our Legislature to do nothing until it is a huge problem! The legislature should be blamming this on themselves. they knew this and they did nothing about it!
Anonymous said…
10:02 I don't agree with you.

This program can be run through and with the legislative backing. It is the rules and regs that must be held in order.
This will not be as complex as peopel think! So don't add what is not needed. We can make sure if Page Program runs and runs smoothly with safety and the educational experience it is suppose to be.
Anonymous said…
anon 12:00-

That's strange -- I served two years in the Legislature with Klaudt, and never heard that once.

Funny how you have a better connection than I did.
Anonymous said…
Just to point out and remind everyone these two cases are not even CLOSE to being the same. We have one case where there was actual sexual contact and another case that was investigated for months and months with no charges being brought forward. I am not a Sutton lover, BUT I do think it is unfair that the media and Blog's are throwing his name in with Klaudt's, there were NEVER any charges brought against Sutton and the nature of the allegations are drastically different, in the Sutton case it was alleged that the touching took place OVER the clothing by Autin Wiese himself and in the Klaudt case he was actually penetrating the genital areas, COME ON do the two cases even really remotely compare in all fairness? I still think Sutton was wrong in his actions, but I do take into mind that no charges were ever filed and if the guy was or is innocent being slaughtered in the media again is probably unfair to him.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone see dorm rooms coming.
I said it before we will be looking into building dorm units for the kids and most likely the interns.
We will hire dorm Mom's and Dad's. Then the unit can be rented out or used for State meetings when our officals need to be in Pierre during summer months, special meetings etc. Something like a group home in a way.
Who wants to take bets? I really don't mean take bets.
PP said…
12:41 - Jeez.....let's not go down that road.

Everything in both of those cases is alleged (except for what they've admitted to). Let's not start calling out your view of people's actual or alleged sexual preference in reference to this.
Anonymous said…
I agree that there are different issues. But they do come together since it deals with legislators actions regardless of the end result.

You know people this all comes down to logic and common sense. In American the theme is Leave kids alone do not abuse them in any form.

I do not look at the legislators as a whole but i do think the policy/ rules and regs need to be looked at. (the good ole boy safe SD has to go) we all know there is good and bad everywhere. We would like to think we are safe but we aren't it is the attitude of total trust that gets people in trouble. I am not saying this state is not a great state because it is and we are lucky to not have more anti-social behaviors and ilegal activities of all sorts but it has always been here.

It doesn't matter where you live what income you come from or any other factor, one never really knows who a perp is. You can live by someone for years and never know what they are truly like.
Anonymous said…
I have to make a comment that will just send some people.
In regard to poster 10:02 post on the SDEA being in charge.
IMO that is the last group i want in charge of the page program.
O My Gosh!!!!
Get a grip - where is the reality -
Anonymous said…
I just hope the page program is not made to pay the price for what has happened. It is not the fault of the page program, it is the fault of the alleged perpetrators. If a school teacher has sex with a student, do we shut down the schools or lock all the kids up in dorms or whatever? No. We go after the person committing the crime.

Although maybe a dorm setting for the pages might be a good idea. Interns are already in college and on their own and responsible for themselves, so not sure about them.

I'll say it again. Most legislators are great people. All it takes is a few bad apples to spoil the whole thing.

But also it's time for a change in the phrase "what happens in Pierre stays in Pierre" as it pertains to the legislative session. I have heard rumors of other things from pages (not pertaining to Sutton or Klaudt) about activities in Pierre, and those weren't good either. And no, I'm not going into detail because they were rumors, but....
Anonymous said…
12:00,

You have an obligation to submit the information you are claiming. If anyone you know had any idea of what was going on, the authorities need to know. You better not be some asshole making claims with no basis!

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