Argus Leader Media - News

Former lawmaker accused of raping two girls; one was former legislative page

Court documents: Klaudt performed 'exams' under guise of egg harvesting
By Terry Woster
twoster@midco.net
Published: May 18, 2007

Former state lawmaker Ted Klaudt is facing criminal charges including eight counts of rape and additional charges of stalking and sexual contact with a child.

One of the victims was a former legislative page who was reportedly assaulted while staying with Klaudt in his Pierre hotel room during the 2006 legislative session.

Klaudt, 49, of Walker, was arrested this morning.

The charges, which involve two girls, were filed this morning in two South Dakota counties.

He's accused of performing "ovary checks" and "breast exams" on one of the girls under the guise that he was helping her to donate her eggs, according to court records.

When the girl began to cry, he would give her beer or alcohol, the documents state.

On Feb. 2, when Division of Criminal Investigation agents interviewed Klaudt, he initially denied performing any tests on the girls, according to court records.

But when the agents confronted him with contents of emails he's accused of sending the girls, he changed his story, the records state.

Klaudt then stated that "maybe I did some things I shouldn't have," according to a court affidavit.

In Hughes County, which is home to the state capitol, Klaudt faces four counts of second-degree rape, according to an arrest warrant and complaint.

Two of the rape counts date to March 2005 and a third one is alleged to have occurred in January, according to the court records.

In Corson County, where Klaudt is from, he faces four more counts of second-degree rape and two counts of witness tampering.

Klaudt is accused of trying to influence witnesses to testify falsely or withhold testimony, according to the Corson County charges.

Other charges include two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; stalking; and sexual contact with a child under 16.

Klaudt is in the custody of the Corson County Sheriff, and is on his way to Deadwood, according to Sara Rabern of the Attorney General's Office.

Klaudt, a Republican who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, is a farmer and rancher.

He served four two-year terms, ran for the Senate last fall and lost to Democrat Ryan Maher of Isabel.

During his eight years in the House, Klaudt served on the Appropriations Committee. During his last term, he served as chairman of the Government Operations and Audit Committee.