11 South Dakota men arrested after internet sex crime sting
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Eleven men, all from Western South Dakota, have been arrested and charged with attempted enticement of a minor using the internet.
The arrests came after an internet sex crime sting that was conducted during this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force lead the investigation in conjunction with Homeland Security, Rapid City Police Department, and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.
During the investigation agents put out multiple ads on websites and mobile apps, pretending to be minors or adults offering minors for prostitution.
According to Task Force commander Brent Gromer, 670 conversations were had throughout the operation which ran from Aug. 2-8.
“The vast majority of people learn they’re communicating with a 15-year-old girl and stop that communication and do the right thing,” said Gromer. “It’s the small number of these individuals that continue to have the conversation after learning the age of the child.”
After arriving at agreed upon locations — such as the Canyon Lake Little League Fields or at a Rapid City middle school — the men were taken into custody.
If convicted each man faces between 10 years to life in prison.
- Jonathon Andrew Whitney of Rapid City, 32
- Jeric Michael Davis of Rapid City, 28
- Stanley Lee Lumbardy of Spearfish, 68
- Kenneth R Williamson of Rapid City, 51
- Sean Russell Gertsch of Sturgis, 27
- Hugo Ruperto Duque of Rapid City, 39
- Japher Y. Rajab of Rapid City, 41
- Greydon Scott Shangreaux of Rapid City, 23
- Justin Oliver Westby of Wall, 45
- Brennan John Hauk of Rapid City, 40
- Josef Martin Pettit of Piedmont, 23
“It’s certainly a time of year when we have an influx of people who come but it also shows we have these issues right here at home in our community and could be addressed at any time of the year, and are,” said Gromer.
In an average year, Gromer says the roughly 15 person task force works about 350 to 400 cases every year. What stands out to him is the number of people arrested that are right in our own backyard.
“That’s the purpose of the operation and truly, a successful year to me is one we have no arrests and we haven’t gotten there yet,” said Gromer.