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U.S. Attorney’s Fight Against Sex Trafficking More Important than Political Baseball

Pat Powers gives Brendan Johnson and that Sioux Falls paper grief for throwing U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson softballs and not wallowing sufficiently in inside baseball. He completely ignores the difficult and valuable work that Johnson does fighting terrible crimes in South Dakota.

Crime reporter John Hult tells the politicos to screw their heads on straight:

A good portion of the commenting class got peeved when fearless leader Patrick Lalley turned the discussion toward sex trafficking and prosecutions in Indian Country. A handful of them accused Mr. Bald N Surly of shilling for Johnson by allowing the U.S. Attorney to “grandstand”

“Grandstanding” apparently meant talking about his day-to-day job as one of the state’s top law enforcement officials.

...The problem [of sex trafficking] is bigger than it used to be, for one obvious reason: The Internet has made sex easier to sell and extended the potential market to anyone with a computer. Because of that, places like North and South Dakota that were too isolated to see it 20 years ago have become fertile grounds for out-of-state pimps. The recent prosecutions of Carl Campbell, Tajahn Clinton, Emmanuel Nyuon and Brandon “Kadafi” Thompson are evidence.

By making sex trafficking prosecutions a priority and pushing to create a task force, Johnson is essentially pushing to align South Dakotans’ views about prostitution with the law as it exists. Doing so necessarily requires beat cops to change their thinking and their approach to prostitution investigations [John Hult, "Why it matters when Brendan Johnson talks about sex trafficking," Amicus Lector, 2013.06.04].

Hult notes how recently the problem of sex trafficking has surged in South Dakota. He notes that in 2008, then U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley said he hadn't seen any such crime in South Dakota:

“In 2 years on the job, Jackley said his office hasn’t “had a case of true sex trafficking,” and only one or two labor trafficking cases. “We aren’t prosecuting those cases,” he said, “because we just haven’t seen them yet” [Matt Gruchow, "South Dakota's Slave Trade," that Sioux Falls paper, 2008; quoted in Hult, 2013.06.04].

That such a heinous crime has surged in South Dakota is important news. The action Brendan Johnson and other public officials are taking to stop this crime and protect women and children from such villainous exploitation is important news. Asking the U.S. Attorney to rehash a story from which he exited a month ago is not news.


  1. El Rayo X 2013.06.05

    I hope our U.S. Attorney and State Attorney General have been keeping tabs on the trafficking of teenage girls imported to SD for the purpose of multiple marriages near Pringle. It's always amazing how law enforcement looks the other way when religion is involved.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.05

    Come now: you don't want the state waging war on Christians, do you? ;-)

    In all seriousness, if what you are saying is happening, could the importation of child brides be prosecuted under human trafficking statutes?

  3. El Rayo X 2013.06.05

    If they want to call themselves Christians, then hell yes, thermonuclear war. All one has to do is research Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Mormons and human trafficking is exactly what they do. The Texas Yearning for Zion compound is empty and in government hands. These people did not convert to Scientology and leave the galaxy. A good portion settled in Pringle, SD and they continue to practice their perverted brand of Mormonism. They have learned from their mistakes in 2008 and will be hard to prosecute. Texas, Arizona and Utah have used RICO laws to go after them, they are not strangers to our legal system, so war might be the right term.

  4. Nick Nemec 2013.06.05

    Have they allowed the Custer County Tax Assessor in to assess the property for tax purposes?

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.06

    Nick, the FLDS in Pringle was delinquent until 2011, when they paid the most delinquent taxes. The county has an assessment of the land; how much their assessor has actually set foot on the land and eyeballed everything is an open question.

  6. Roger Elgersma 2013.06.06

    If Brendan Johnson can stop human trafficking is more important than an elected job in either Pierre or Washington.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.06

    You know, Roger, that may well be his thinking. We all need to figure out where we can do the most good with our talents.

  8. Les 2013.06.07

    Human trafficking is an important element to fight and if they were trafficking 40 plus age group males it would have been shut down long ago.
    That said, it seems like along with illegal immigration, trafficking was poo pooed by the SD libs a few short years back as we have no problem in SD. Tell me Im wrong, it could be my 60 year old memory going??

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