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Press Release

Watertown Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Production of Child Pornography

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

ABERDEEN - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann has sentenced a Watertown, South Dakota, man convicted of Production of Child Pornography. The sentencing took place on June 3, 2024.

Ted Jeffrey Hurkes, age 46, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100. Upon his release from federal prison, Hurkes must register as a six offender.

Hurkes was indicted by a federal grand jury in February of 2023. He pleaded guilty on December 4, 2023.

The conviction stemmed from an incident on October 2, 2022, when Hurkes used his cell phone to take pictures and make video recordings of a partially unclothed minor female while she was asleep. The child was unaware of the images being created by Hurkes.

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

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Watertown Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.

Hurkes was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated June 5, 2024

Project Safe Childhood