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Press Release

Wagner Woman Found Guilty on Multiple Counts of Abuse

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

SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a jury has convicted Tina Sully, age 53, of Wagner, South Dakota, of seven counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, two counts of Felony Child Abuse, and one count of Abusive Sexual Contact, following a four-day jury trial in federal district court in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on September 15, 2023.

Sully was indicted on these charges by a federal grand jury in January of 2022. The charges carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years and possible maximum penalty of life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, five years of supervised release, and a $1,000 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Sully was a foster and adopted mother to several children. The jury convicted her of unlawfully assaulting and cruelly punishing three of them, including beating them with belts and hangers and withholding food from them for days, between the years of 1993 and 2021. Sully was also convicted of sexually abusing one of the children by grabbing the juvenile male’s genitals.

This case was investigated by the FBI, Yankton Sioux Law Enforcement, and the Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Ebert, who also serves as a prosecutor with the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date has not been set. The defendant was released pending sentencing.

Updated September 24, 2023