warren welch

Warren Welch has been an evangelical pastor and a corrections guard at the South Dakota Women's Prison in Pierre. He was sentenced in August in state court in Pierre to two years in prison, suspended, and two years probation for having sex with an inmate of the state Women's Prison while he was a corrections officer. 

Warren Welch, a longtime pastor in the United Pentecostal Church International and a former corrections officer at the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended, for having sex with an inmate of the prison.

Welch, who turns 63 this week, first faced seven Class 6 felony counts — for having sex with an inmate and for providing her contraband, including a cellphone — that could have meant 14 years in prison when he was charged in 2019.

After first pleading not guilty to a reduced charge sheet, Welch and his attorney, Roger Ellyson, of Watertown, South Dakota, worked out a plea agreement with the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Mandy Miller, signed in July 2020.

Welch agreed to plead guilty to one count of committing sexual acts which are prohibited between prison employees and prisoners, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. He also agreed to reimburse the prosecution and court for the costs of investigating and bringing the case to court.

Miller agreed to recommend any prison time be suspended for the one count and other counts be dismissed and Welch be put on two years of supervised probation.

That's what state Circuit Judge Bridget Mayer did when she sentenced Welch in August in Pierre.

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