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Press Release

Kenel Man Convicted of Aggravated Sexual Abuse and Other Domestic Violence Charges

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

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that Denny Johnson, age 31, of Kenel, South Dakota, was found guilty of two Counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse by Force, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Domestic Assault by an Habitual Offender, and Simple Assault, as a result of a federal jury trial in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  The jury returned the guilty verdict on May 12, 2016, after deliberating for approximately 3 hours.

Johnson was found not guilty of three additional counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse and one count of Kidnapping.

The convictions carry a maximum penalty of up to life in custody and/or fines of up to $1,005,000, up to life of supervised release, and $410 in special assessments to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  

Johnson was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 17, 2014. 

The convictions stemmed from incidents between December 29, 2013, and January 10, 2014, when Johnson, who had been in a tumultuous and violent relationship since early 2000 with the victim, began to physically and emotionally abuse her.  Johnson brought the victim home from her shift at work around 12:30 in the morning.  Upon arriving home, Johnson began yelling at her because he had been watching her at work and saw her interacting with a co-worker. 

As Johnson was displaying hostility, the victim began to gather her belongings so she could leave.  She put her clothes in a suit case and headed out of the house.  As she opened the door to leave, Johnson suddenly slammed the door shut, told her she was not leaving, grabbed her by her jacket collar, jerked her to the floor, and assaulted her.  As she was lying on the floor, Johnson began to repeatedly kick her on the small of her back, as he knew she had been previously injured in that area.   

The victim was able to get up and attempted to escape.  Johnson again grabbed her by the jacket, but this time he cut it off of her with a large army knife he had grabbed, and chased her into his bedroom with the knife still in his hand.  He also began throwing household items at her, striking her on the forehead. 

Johnson retrieved her suitcase, opened it, and started taking her clothing out and cutting it with the knife.  The victim tried escape out a window, but she was so nervous she could not unlock the window.  Johnson returned and began walking towards her and menaced her with the knife, which was still in his hand.  The victim was in a fetal position, and Johnson verbally abused her as she pleaded with him.  He used the knife to cut her clothes off.  After removing her undergarments with the knife, he threw her to the ground.  Thereafter, he threw the knife at her, sticking it in the floor beside her, and he told her to kill herself because he could not do it.  The victim refused, stating she had her children to live for so she would not kill herself. 

Johnson retrieved the knife, and kicked her as she tried to crawl from him.  When she cried out, he told her to be quiet or he would kill her.  Johnson urinated on the victim.  After urinating on her, Johnson told her that she stunk and ordered her to get into the shower.  He turned on the cold water only and forced her to stay under the water as he poured shampoo, liquid hand soap, dish soap, a bottle of Mr. Clean, and some Clorox on her head and face.  He tried to dilute her with cleaning chemicals.  The victim was pleading with him to stop, but Johnson grabbed a mop bucket with dirty water in it and dumped that on her as well.  Following this, he ordered her out of the shower and told her to go to a bedroom.  Johnson made sure that she did not have any clothes.  Johnson came into the room and raped the victim in several ways.  During the sexual abuse, he hit her in the face, held a knife to her throat, and continued to menace her.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Standing Rock Agency. Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy R. Morley prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for August 15th.  The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated May 13, 2016

Violent Crime