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Trial postponed for former Crow Creek Council treasurer, alleged sexual abuse perpetrator

UPDATE: This story has been amended to correct an inaccuracy in the classification of the crimes which Mr. Hawk Sr. stands accused. Updated 5:15 p.m., June 11. 

UPDATE:The names of the alleged victims have been removed. Updated 6:02 p.m., June 13. 

The trial of Roland Hawk Sr., formerly the treasurer for the Crow Creek Tribal Council and alleged perpetrator of several counts of sexual abuse, has been postponed for two months.

Hawk was first indicted on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact without permission in an April 16 hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno. At that time, Moreno said Hawk’s jury trial would take place “probably in late June.” According to court documents filed on April 22, Hawk’s trial was specifically set for Tuesday, June 18, before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

After a request for continuance filed to the court on May 15 by Hawk and his retained defense attorney, Clint Sargent, that trial date was pushed back to Tuesday, August 20. Court documents signed by Sargent said that “additional time is needed by the defense to conduct its own investigation.”

Sargent did not return calls for comment on the matter. The court granted the request for continuance on May 30. Lange will still be the presiding judge at Hawk’s August 20 trial.

Hawk, in the meantime, has been released into the custody of his mother, Roselle Lockwood, who lives in Fort Thompson. Part of his release agreement stipulates that he is not to contact or enter within 100 feet of the alleged victims in the case. He is also required to submit to location monitoring and to maintain some form of employment.

At the time of Hawk’s initial indictment, Crow Creek Council Chairman Lester D. Thompson Jr. sent out a statement that said the council would continue to employ Hawk in his position of treasurer as he awaits trial, albeit in a limited capacity. They placed Hawk on “a leave of absence,” during which he would be allowed to continue performing most of his duties as treasurer, but would not be allowed to sign or issue checks.

By press time, the Council did not return calls meant to confirm if this was still the case.

Each of the counts Hawk is indicted in is a federal Level 4 Offense. If found guilty, he could possibly be imprisoned. Hawk pleaded not guilty to each of the counts against him at his April 16 hearing.


News
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Noem: Trump signs Presidential Disaster Declaration for SD

President Donald Trump approved South Dakota’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, Governor Kristi Noem announced on Saturday.

“This is great news for our state as it means that those still recovering from the severe weather will get much needed assistance,” Noem said in a news release on Saturday, June 8. “We thank the President for his actions.”

It means up to an estimated $46 million in federal funds — based on preliminary assessments — will be available to help state and local governments and private citizens and businesses recover from property damage during the winter/spring blizzards in mid-March and mid-April and the ensuing flooding.

The state made the formal request on May 22 and Trump signed the declaration late on Friday, June 7, according to Noem.

Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency will return to work with state and local officials to document damage, mostly to public infrastructures such as roads, and also to a lesser amount of damage to private properties.

The preliminary assessments done in May indicated about $43 million to public infrastructures in 58 counties, including more than $100,000 in Hughes County, much of it in and around Blunt; and on three Indian reservations.

About $3 million in damages to private property and in individual assistance was tabulated in 12 counties and three Indian reservations.

Rob Fines, emergency manager for Hughes and Stanley counties, said that at least about $64,000 of disaster damage had to be found in Hughes County in order to trigger eligibility for disaster funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, based on the county’s population. The preliminary assessment done by local and FEMA representatives estimated more than $100,000 of damage was done, Fines said.

Much of it was in and around Blunt, where the community filled sandbags and built an earthen dam along the east edge of town as rising waters threatened to flood homes and streets. Damage to county roads also went in to the assessment total in Hughes County.

Not enough damage was totaled up in Stanley County, so far, to lead to FEMA funds.

Public property damage assistance has been approved for the counties of: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Oglala Lakota, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, Yankton, and Ziebach, as well as the Cheyenne River, Lake Traverse, and Rosebud Indian Reservations.

Individual assistance has been approved for the counties of Bennett, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Dewey, Hutchinson, Jackson, Mellette, Minnehaha, Oglala Lakota, Todd, Yankton, and Ziebach counties as well as the Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, and Rosebud Indian Reservations.

Individual assistance requests for Brookings, Kingsbury, Hamlin, and Turner counties were not approved because more information is needed, Noem said. Assistance to those counties may be approved later, she said.

In her letter requesting a disaster declaration, Noem said the severe weather this spring affected all parts of the state.

“People had to be rescued from their flooded homes, highways and roads were damaged, city infrastructure systems were overwhelmed by the high water, and the state’s agricultural industry was impacted,” according to the news release.

“South Dakotans, as they always so, have helped each other recover from the winter storms and flooding,” Noem said. “But this federal assistance is the extra boost individuals, businesses, and governments need to recover from this disaster.”

South Dakota last received a presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance based on the billions of dollars in damage from flooding along the Missouri River flooding in 2011, including in Pierre and Fort Pierre. That disaster also involved a lot of public assistance funding from FEMA that took years to be spent. The city of Pierre just finished the final FEMA-funded flood-related recovery work last year.

The last presidential disaster declaration for public assistance in the state was granted in early 2017 in the first months of the Trump administration when Gov. Dennis Daugaard requested it following the big ice storm around Christmas 2016 that did an estimated $9 million in damage, including to a lot of damage in Stanley County to power lines and poles.


News
Capital Journal staff earn awards

Two staff members of the Capital Journal newspaper have earned awards in the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Out of over 1,100 entries in the 2018 contest, top-notch reporter Stephen Lee competed in the category of South Dakota daily newspapers which have subscriptions of under 10,000. Lee was honored with a second place for Best News Stories about a tornado taking a South Dakota tractor into Montana. One of the judges commented, “Great lead to the story. Good info on it as well.”

Also representing the Capital Journal, head sports writer Scott Millard earned a second place in the Best Sports Column division. Millard’s “Scott’s Thoughts” column received judges’ comment of, “The reporter manages to find interesting topics to write about, particularly ‘My Favorite Teammate.’ His writing is real and not overdone.”

Their award certificates read:

SDNA 2018 Certificate of Award, Pierre Capital Journal, to Stephen Lee for 2nd Place Best News Story, Dailies under 10,000, in the South Dakota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest

SDNA 2018 Certificate of Award, Pierre Capital Journal, to Scott Millard for 2nd Place Best Sports Column, Dailies under 10,000, in the South Dakota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest


Community
Library reading programs include adults

The Rawlins Library in Pierre has begun its annual summer reading program. It continues through the end of this month.

Adults are encouraged to get involved, not only to help with younger people but to belong separately. For every book that an adult reads, they will be given a scratch ticket for a chance to win a prize. All non-winning tickets can be entered into a drawing for a grand prize to be given away on August 1. Get your adult reading log, record the title of the book and the date you finished reading it, and have the circulation desk librarian initial each entry. This reading program is open to adults 18 and up, with a limit of 10 books per each adult.

Senior citizens should inquire about special services at the library, including a limited number of free black/white scannings and printings, free books, and free computer usage.

The kids’ reading program, “Read and Tell,” is unlimited for the number of book a younger person may enter. The librarian will ask the youth a question about that individual book, such as Who was the main character, where the story took place, or to explain the reader’s favorite part of the book. Inquired about the various prizes which apply for various ages of readers.

The preschool reading program requires someone to read to the youth. For so many books listened to, the youth receives a prize.

Entertainment is scheduled during the year at the library. Some of the upcoming items include live jazz/blues music, July 10, and ‘the rope warrior’ July 25.

For more information, including days and times of the summer reading programs, call the Rawlings Library at 773-7421.


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South Dakota ACLU to challenge Noem’s “Riot Boosting” Act in court this Wednesday

The South Dakota ACLU sent out a news release on Friday, June 7, announcing that it would be challenging Governor Kristi Noem’s pro-Keystone XL Pipeline, anti- “Riot Boosting,” Act, in court on Wednesday afternoon.

The release said that the case of Dakota Rural Action v. Noem, as it has been named, will be heard by the Rapid City U.S. District Court on Wednesday, June 12 at 3 p.m. The hearing will be held at the Andrew W. Bogue Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Room 301, on 515 Ninth St. In the case, the ACLU will represent the activist groups Dakota Rural Action, Indigenous Environmental Network, NDN Collective and the Sierra Club; as well as two individual activists: Nick Tilsen with NDN Collective and Dallas Goldtooth with Indigenous Environmental Network.

“All are planning to protest the Keystone XL pipeline and/or encourage others to do so,” the release said.

The “Riot Boosting Act” which the ACLU is challenging is an attempt by Noem to outlaw many forms of Pipeline protest, and commodify the protests that do occur. It consists of two separate bills, Senate Bills 189 and 190, which were both introduced and swiftly signed into law this past March.

Bill 189 creates a fund for the state to receive money in the form of “civil recoveries” from any party found guilty of encouraging and/or materially or financially supporting riots.

Riots are defined in South Dakota law as “any use of force or violence or any threat to use force or violence, if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by three or more persons, acting together and without authority of law.”

Bill 189 also provides the state with the authority to prosecute people for these suspected acts of “Riot Boosting.”

The new laws state that “any person who participates in any riot and who directs, advises, encourages, or solicits other persons participating in the riot to acts of force or violence, is guilty of a Class 2 felony... Any person who does not personally participate in any riot but who directs, advises, encourages, or solicits other persons participating in the riot to acts of force or violence is guilty of a Class 5 felony.”

This means that those found guilty of riot boosting are not only liable for financial recompense to the state, but could be sentenced to up to 25 years imprisonment.

Bill 190 creates the “PEACE,” or Pipeline Engagement Activity Coordination Expenses, fund. This fund is earmarked by the state for use in covering any extraordinary expenditures incurred in relation to Pipeline construction. It would derive part of its income from money paid to the state by parties found guilty of riot boosting, as detailed in SB 189.

Since the Riot Boosting bills were announced, the ACLU and many other progressive and Indigenous Rights groups have lambasted them as being anti-free speech, racist, and an example of government authority serving corporate interests. The Water Protectors Legal Collective, a group of lawyers that provided pro-bono legal counsel to Pipeline protesters at Standing Rock, was among the critics.

A day after the bills were approved by the South Dakota state legislature, the Capital Journal quoted lawyer Bruce Ellison, a member of the Water Protectors Legal Collective, as saying “Time is money for these companies, every day there’s not oil running in those pipes, it’s costing them.”

“Moreover,” the ACLU’s Friday news release said, “the laws do not clearly describe what conduct or speech is considered ‘riot-boosting’ or ‘encouraging’ a riot. The ACLU argues that such vague and broad language invites arbitrary enforcement, will chill protected speech, and will result in indiscriminate targeting of peaceful organizers.”

The ACLU challenge to the Riot Boosting Act is largely preemptive; construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will not begin until 2020 at the earliest. That said, the Pipeline’s construction corporation, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Corp.), won its appeal before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, June 6, to restart construction procedures after more than six months in legal Limbo. Construction was previously put on hold by an injunction from the Montana U.S. District Court, Great Falls Division.

The Montana District Court found that TransCanada and the U.S. State Department failed, among other things, to properly account for the cumulative environmental impacts of the pipeline when considered alongside other oil-shipping methods already operating in North America. The June 6 Court of Appeals’ decision reversed the injunction.

With construction of the Pipeline thus imminent, and likely to occur simultaneously with the U.S. presidential election, would-be protesters and activists said that opposing the Riot Boosting Act is important now, rather than later.

The ACLU release quoted Dallas Goldtooth, a representative with the Indigenous Environmental Network, as saying,

“This is a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to suppress protests of the Keystone XL pipeline before they even begin. Indigenous voices have long protected Mother Earth’s biodiversity and we will not be silenced. We refuse to live in fear for demanding climate justice and protecting our sovereignty as Native nations and its peoples. We’re happy that our views will be heard in court.”

Specific legal documents related to the ACLU’s case can be found at www.aclusd.org/en/cases/freespeech.