Former Summerset mayor pleads guilty to filming woman without consent

Mandas was the mayor of Summerset from May 2012 to April 2019

SUMMERSET, S.D. — The former mayor of Summerset pleaded guilty in a Meade County court on Thursday to filming a woman without her consent, after a woman watching his dog discovered a camera inside his bathroom.

56-year-old George J. Mandas, who was the mayor of Summerset from May 2012 to April 2019, was arrested in November on one count unauthorized eavesdropping and one count taking photos or video without consent. The charge comes after a dog sitter staying at Mandas’ residence in Piedmont in late September/early October 2021 found a camera in the master bathroom. The letter that victim submitted to Fourth Circuit Magistrate Court Judge Chad Callahan stated the Mandas’s “encouraged her” to use their master bathroom while staying in the house and failed to mention the recording device.

“Discovering the device and knowing it was recording me in a very vulnerable state was completely devastating to me,” the victim wrote. “I can’t help but think about all of this every day. It is very upsetting, and the ‘dirty’ feeling is unbearable.”

A plea deal reached between Mandas and the State in December resulted in the State dropping the eavesdropping charge in exchange for a guilty plea on the other charge. Mandas pleaded guilty to “using a device to photograph or visually record another person without clothing or under or through the clothing” without consent with the “intention to self-gratify, harass, or embarrass and invade the privacy.”

In his plea affidavit, Mandas stated he “deeply regrets” and has been “participating in counseling on a weekly basis” since the incident. Mandas’ affidavit also says he was employed as the Fire Chief for the Veteran’s Affairs in Sturgis, currently listed on his LinkedIn profile. He also stated in the affidavit, “I have also been very actively involved in my community and have maintained my involvement in community-related matters.”

Mandas was sentenced to 60 days in jail – all suspended – provided he doesn’t violate the law in the next year and pays all court costs and fines.

Categories: Crime, Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News