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Press Release

Black Hawk Man Found Guilty of Sex Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a federal jury in Rapid City, South Dakota, has convicted Stephen Fontenot, Jr., age 40, of Black Hawk, South Dakota, of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet, and Attempted Receipt of Child Pornography. The verdict was returned on November 3, 2022.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years up to life in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, five years up to lifetime of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Fontenot was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2021. 

Evidence at trial established that Fontenot was arrested as a result of an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting internet predators.  Following multiple sexually explicit chats and text messages with a person Fontenot believed to be a 12-year-old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent, Fontenot proceeded to negotiate a time and place he would meet the minor to engage in unlawful sex acts. When Fontenot went to the pre-determined location to meet the minor, he was instead met by law enforcement agents and placed under arrest.

This case was investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, Homeland Security Investigations, the Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah B. Collins prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date will be set. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated November 9, 2022

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