Six Sioux Falls Men Charged with Online Sex Crimes
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Sioux Falls Police Department, Watertown Police Department, Tea Police Department, Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the FBI, conducted a joint online sex crimes operation that ran from March 3, 2023, through March 8, 2023.
As a result, the following six men from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, were arrested and charged with Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet:
Cole Bogen Bettin, age 27; Joshua David Catron, age 33; Jayden Debevec, age 28; Kody William Konechne, age 21; Michael Valleck, age 32; and Jonah Earl Severson, age 23.
The mandatory minimum penalty upon conviction is 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, five years minimum of supervised release, up to life, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charges are merely accusations and all six Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents work tirelessly to protect children from exploitation,” said Jamie Holt, HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge. “This successful online sex crimes operation shows the threat child predators pose in our communities and the importance of working hand-in-hand with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to bring individuals and networks who prey on vulnerable populations to justice.”
The cases are being federally prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey C. Clapper and Jeremy R. Jehangiri.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to extend its appreciation to all law enforcement partners involved in the investigations for their efforts and continued cooperation.
Updated April 6, 2023
Project Safe Childhood