Mitchell man pleads guilty to 1st-degree rape of minor under 13 years old

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Police lights(WRAL)
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 1:35 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - According to representatives from the Mitchell Radio Group, a middle-aged man pleaded guilty to raping a young girl.

The Mitchell Radio Group says the man pleaded guilty to first-degree rape of a minor under the age of 13. The suspect, 43-year-old Robert Gerstenecker, faced multiple counts of child pornography and was scheduled to go to trial in October. Several other charges were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Authorities say a tip from a reporting party spurred the investigation when they said they saw what was believed to be child pornography during a video call with Gerstenecker. This tip led authorities to obtain a search warrant for Gerstenecker’s residence. Officers allegedly found methamphetamine and a hidden cell phone, which contained an SD card with images and videos of child pornography, including some with a man believed to be Gerstenecker engaging in sexual acts with a female under 13 years old. The acts are believed to have occurred between October of 2021 and January of this year.

Under the plea deal, a 75-year prison sentence was recommended. Under the charge, Gerstenecker faced a maximum of life in prison. Sentencing was set for December.