Sideras pleads not guilty to child porn charges

Published: May. 25, 2017 at 7:21 AM CDT
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UPDATE: Former Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jim Sideras has entered a not guilty plea to child pornography possession charges.

Sideras appeared in a Minnehaha County Courtroom Thursday morning. He will be represented by Leo Flynn, who was acquitted on several child pornography charges himself in 2010.

The judge also went over the conditions of Sideras' bond. State's Attorney Aaron McGowan asked the judge that Sideras forfeit his passport, not leave South Dakota without the permission of the court, and have no unsupervised contact with someone under the age of 18. The judge agreed to these terms and added that Sideras needs to be on good behavior, stay in contact with his lawyer and have no access to the internet or any devices that access the internet. Sideras won't appear in court again until his preliminary hearing, which is in 45 days.

Earlier this month, Sideras was arrested after prosecutors say a search warrant executed at his Sioux Falls home found several images of child pornography.

Sideras, who had planned to retire this summer, was fired from Sioux Falls Fire Rescue shortly after the search of his home.

Original story:

The former fire chief of Sioux Falls, Jim Sideras, is expected to appear in court at 9:00 AM Thursday, but it's not expected to last long. This appearance stems from the 10 counts of possession of child pornography against Sideras.

Michael Henderson is an attorney at Swier Law Firm but does not have any association with this case. He talked about what people can expect at first court appearances though.

He said these appearances usually don't last more than 5 minutes. The judge will likely read Sideras the charges against him and his constitutional rights. Bond will also be discussed even though Sideras already bonded out at $10,000. No final decisions or resolutions should be expected out of the appearance.

This investigation started on April 26th, but two weeks before that, Sideras announced his retirement as the chief of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. He had worked with the city for almost 34 years.

A detective with the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about an email account that received images of child pornography attached to them. According to court documents, the detective believed this email belonged to Jim Sideras.

A search warrant was then served at Sideras' home on May 2nd, just less than one week after the sheriff's office received that tip. Twenty-two items were taken from Sideras' home which included hard drives and laptops. On that same day, the city announced that Division Chief Brad Goodroad would serve as the interim fire chief. The city has still not said whether or not Sideras was fired but he will receive his pension plan.

Less than one week later, an arrest warrant was served for Sideras for 10 counts of possession of child pornography. He turned himself in and bonded out on $10,000. When Sideras announced his retirement with the city, he had accepted a position with the South Dakota Healthcare Coalition. KSFY News reporter Vanessa Gomez reached out to the coalition last week and the consultant there said they "rescinded their offer to employ Jim Sideras as the executive director" on May 9th.