Woman Accuses Senator-Elect Nesiba of Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

I was having a perfectly lovely day until I learned that a woman has accused one of the few new Democrats going to Pierre of acting like Donald Trump.

Newly elected state legislator and Augustana University professor Reynold Nesiba was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with sexual contact without consent.

…The 51-year-old victim told an officer that two days prior she had invited Nesiba to her home after meeting him on Facebook and in person a few times.

After sharing a kiss, Nesiba made repeated, unwanted sexual advances and refused to leave the woman’s home, she told police.

…At some point, the victim said she and Nesiba were in the kitchen when he reached into her pants and touched her vagina [Megan Raposa and Mark Walker, “Legislator, Professor Arrested on Sexual Contact Charges,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.11.14].

Along with many more sordid details about the complaint, Raposa and Walker report that Nesiba says he did not use force and he thought the accuser was “playing ‘hard to get.'”

As we chant innocent until proven guilty, let us leap ahead to the political import of this arrest, the possible conviction of a soon-to-be sitting legislator. Under SDCL 22-22-7.4, sexual contact without consent (you know, the kind of thing Donald Trump admitted doing and still got elected President) is a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning one year in county jail and $2,000 fine, tops. The South Dakota Constitution, Article 3 Section 4, says a conviction for bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime disqualifies one from Legislative service. “Infamous crime” (written into the Fifth Amendment!) appears to be synonymous with “felony”. The crime of which Nesiba is accused does not bring anything like the right kind of fame, but by legal standards, it appears not to be “infamous”.

However, the Senate may not have to wait for proof of any crime, infamous or otherwise. If the Senate is sufficiently upset by the charges against Senator-Elect Nesiba, Article 3 Section 9 says they can refuse to seat him on January 10: “Each house shall be the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members.” State ex rel. Walter v. Gutzler (1977) established that each chamber of the Legislature can choose to seat elected yet unqualified members; it seems logical to conclude that the Senate could as easily choose not to seat an elected member who is accused of a non-felony crime. If the Senate chooses not to seat Nesiba, they would hand Governor Dennis Daugaard the opportunity to make his second appointment to the 2017 Legislature (he confirmed his pick of David Lust for District 34’s empty seat today) and his thirteenth in six years. This time, he’d be appointing a replacement in District 15, the strongly Democratic central Sioux Falls district.

However, given the Senator majority party’s embrace of Donald Trump’s qualifications for the Presidency of the United States, one could conclude that our Senators would not find accusations of unwanted groping worthy of unseating a mere state legislator.

57 Responses to Woman Accuses Senator-Elect Nesiba of Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

  1. Yep, lets just hang the dude. Sounds kind of intriguing though, just elected and invited to a house by a woman on Facebook. I have a hard time trusting this, not because the guy is a Democrat but because it just seems kind of strange. I have never met a woman on Facebook that wanted to invite me to her house. But she doe have choice and if she said no, that means no, it does not mean hard to get. But I just am wondering about a 51 year old woman hooking up on Facebook with this newly elected official, wonder what they discussed?

  2. Jerry why would you say that about him .It looks like he could be president.

  3. Hmmm, I better pass on that question.

  4. Ben Cerwinske

    Aparently the incident happened in September. Let’s let the facts come in.

  5. I, for one, say let the young fellow be seated and go about his business. Who among you hasn’t been a little nefarious in your day?

  6. So then, I guess he is innocent until proven guilty. Damn, I thought it was all settled. Will the trial be televised? The local tee vee guys and gals have not done any kind of reporting for some time other than that stuff Trump said with Billy Bush, so now we are going to get fresh details of this scandalous scandal. Zuckerberg will come out for sure and show us all the goods on what was typed back and forth.

  7. Grudz, for the record, no means no.

  8. I suppose you’re right, Mr. H. Righter than right on this topic.

    I just hope they do let the elected fellow Nesiba take his seat though. It will make for more entertainment with him there than with him gone.

  9. Yes, innocent until proven guilty. But the problem for me is that he didn’t dispute anything the alleged victim had to say to the police. He also told police he thought “she was playing hard to get.” What? Are we teenagers? The man is 50 years old!

  10. This case will produce widgets for lawyers, and widgets for the press. Widgets are being produced as we write this and read this.

  11. So when are those emails gonna be made public? I mean Facebook messaging. I wonder if they used dirty words to one another or each sent photo’s? This is more exciting than elections with sex and intrigue and a visual of “playing hard to get”. What does that mean? That messaging must be released to the public!! http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/playing-hard-to-get

  12. It’s a really strange story. The explanation of the encounter seems to be a lot of things, with “unwanted sexual contact” being one of the strangest of them. The explanation would appear to border more on assault or possibly attempted rape. Then she got away because she said she had to go to work? Really?? Just that easy?? After being carried around the house and to some extent thrown up against a wall? At what point do you call 911? Seems to me to be a case of someone getting or giving some somewhat mixed signals.

  13. David Newquist

    There are circumstances of this arrest that need to be explained. According to Don Jorgensen of Keloland News, he had a copy of the warrant and talked to Nesiba in his office just before the arrest. The television crew was in place and had the cameras running after the interview when the deputies hand-cuffed Nesiba and hauled him away, although they only used the view of the vehicle after he was in it and it was being driven away.

    Keloland knew the arrest was going to be made before Nesiba was aware of the warrant and it was set up as a television production. Compare this with the way that most misdemeanor arrests are made. I wonder if that Sioux Falls paper or the AP will inquire as to the reasons for the circumstances of this arrest.

  14. Don Coyote

    As Scooby Doo says, ruh roh! Read the court papers. Nesiba and the woman had already had sex once before. Nesiba wanted a purely sexual relationship but the woman did not. She said that they could only be friends from that point forward with no more sex. Evidently Nesiba embraced his inner caveman and pushed the negotiations a bit farther than the woman desired.


  15. Good questions, David. There is something very odd about why prosecutors decided to pursue this case. The premise that Nesiba was in the woman’s residence after answering an invite from a Facebook inquiry makes the allegations suspicious. Unless there is solid evidence of wrongdoing on Nesiba’s part, I can’t imagine a jury would make this stick.

    Nesiba’s reaction to police that he thought she was being coy with him after inviting him over to her residence is not an admission of guilt. And it doesn’t seem like he’s being coy with the police after he virtually agreed with most of her story. The difference here is motive: She says rape (or something less?) and he says he thought she was stringing him along. Bottom line: She invited him to her residence after they flirted on Facebook. Now she says his advances were unwanted and that she said no.

    At best, this was a dumb thing for Nesiba to do … to be gullible enough to act on an invite in social media to fool around. For the state, this is a highly problematic case to prosecute. There is no smoking gun other than Nesiba saying he took a 51-year-old woman’s Facebook invitation to come to her domicile. I think this will fail in front of a jury both in criminal and civil courts. It will cost both her and Nesiba a lot of money. There will be no justice in the end, except political punishment for an inconclusive incident.

    So, what does the State get out of pursuing this? I hope it’s a good answer.

  16. News now is like sport fishing at Trout Haven, the news guy baits the hook and all you do is act. I wonder if the announcer was whispering like the do when they announce golf. Reality tee vee is now the Keloland News team. High speed car chases that have to have two and three takes to get it right, prostitution captured live on tee vee after more than 15 takes? come on news guys, keep it real. Ratings through the roof though. That ad that was a sawbuck the other day is now a cool 100.

  17. David Newquist

    96 Tears,
    There is much here that rings alarm bells about law enforcement procedure.
    Beside the fact that this arrest was staged for television production and that Jorgensen, according to his report, approached Nesiba with the warrant just before the arrest and Nesiba did not know it was coming, the timeline indicates that that there was much organization involved between the incident and the arrest.

    26 Sept., Monday: Date of incident
    28 Sept., Wednesday: Date incident was reported to police officer.
    29 Sept., Thursday: Date incident was investigated by Chris Schoepf.
    30 Sept., Friday: Date Nesiba agreed to an interview by Schoepf.
    11 Oct.: Date Schoepf’s warrant request was notarized.
    8 Nov.: Date warrant request was filed.
    14 Nov.: Date warrant was served and arrest was made.

    All indications are that this arrest was arranged and staged for maximum surprise to the defendant and maximum publicity for law enforcement and a lot more than justice is being served.

  18. Steve Hickey

    This is the last thing I expected to hear of yesterday. Beyond that I’ve not much to add except for these concerns which I emailed off this morning to SFPD’s Sam Clemons:

    Sam, you guys do good work and I saw that firsthand in my many years as a
    Sioux Falls PD chaplain. I need you to help me understand why and how it was
    the KELO TV was given the arrest information for Reynold yesterday and allowed
    to beat you guys to the point and place of arrest. For a reporter and cameras
    to be there just ahead of his arrest to interview him, capture his reaction on
    film and create space and time for a whole variety of things to go wrong (he
    could have fled, killed himself on campus, taken students hostage, etc, etc)
    seems to me entirely out of sorts, but mostly it seems a violation of his
    right of innocent until proven guilty. It puts the press and the public before
    the police work, prosecution process and jury. I’m not too wound up about this
    but obvious it seemed unfair enough and even dangerous enough for me to
    inquire. All the best. SH

  19. mike from iowa

    Has Nesiba called her a liar and threatened to sue her, yet? Get on it fella. When in the Drumpf dump do as Drumpf does.

  20. mike from iowa

    Has the woman in question gotten death threats from Nesiba’s supporters? If not why not?

  21. mike from iowa

    Has he denied ever meeting her, regardless of what video shows. Who you gonna believe? Nesiba or your lying eyes?

  22. This political assassination was done with the full complacency of the media and the enforcers, right out of eastern Europe. Beautiful in its simplicity, you have the law enforcement, that distrusts and hates Democrats (remember, they endorsed Trump for prez) so you kind of have to look at them in a different light. You have the media that did not have a fluff story to produce (little child likes rabbits), so they have to invent something to sell. All in a days work to further diminish liberty and replace it with those that disregard the will of the people.

  23. Whether or not the allegations rise to the level of a crime, Senator Nesiba does not come off looking like a mature gentleman of 50 years old. Politically he will survive to serve his term, but it will probably be his only term. It’s really a shame that he will start his senate term under this cloud because he really had potential to be an opinion leader and an articulate spokesman for the Democratic Party.

  24. mike from iowa

    Flipper, if you are old enough you might remember dumbass dubya and Henry Hyde were reprobates well into their 40s but they claimed the statute of limitations on their youthful indiscretions hadn’t run out.

    Dumbass dubya was a drunken womanizer into his 40s and Henry Hyde sired a woods colt in his 40s.

  25. David – Yes, the set-up for KELO’s benefit was not an action to pursue justice or keep the peace, it was a very political stunt to show police cuffing a respected, high profile member of the community who just got elected to the State Senate.

    At the bottom of it is a complaint of making unwanted sexual advances (not classified as a felony) based on the word of one person. No other witnesses. No physical evidence. No recording. And with the defendant agreeing with everything the accuser said except one important thing – he thought she was playing coy.

    Who was the decider to charge him with this crime? Who decided that it was important to line up a “gotchya” moment on the state’s largest media outlet as the primary concern of the arrest event? All of this now smacks of amateurish decision-making at the highest level of law enforcement. Were these decisions made in Sioux Falls or in Pierre?

    Somebody went to great lengths to create a political showboat. Despite my previous criticisms of him, Marty Jackley would never be so foolish to give a green light to a risky display like this. I have a hard time imagining anyone would be so juvenile in the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney office.

    You can unring this bell. I suspect Nesiba will find the nastiest junkyard dog attorney to produce some answers.

  26. On the contrary Mr. Rorschach, Senator Nesiba comes off very well like a gregarious single mature gentleman of 50 years young. His nature got him elected as you must be outgoing and able to communicate in order to achieve that. He uses Facebook to communicate, like all red blooded young males. It looks like he met the woman on the social medium and they had sex so this was not his first by chance meeting with her. Who knows what they discussed on the social medium, maybe about trysts and maybe about other things that may have worried the handlers. You know, the Senate in South Dakota, welds power and if the numbers are right in that chamber, they could actually get stuff done or dismantle stuff that is harmful to the public. The owners have succeeded in this neutering of Senator Neiba with the complete approval of the news media and law enforcement. In many parts of the world, it is not called news, it is called fascism.

  27. Daniel Buresh

    If this were a repub, you’d all be calling for his head. Bunch of shills in an echo chamber around here which is why you always get things wrong time and time again.

  28. Steve Hickey? A shill in the echo chamber of Dakota Free Press. Daniel, if you can honestly look at this media circus that delivered the warrant before the police and say that it is all just swell, then you are clueless what law and order are really all about.

  29. Buresh – Give me a list of names of Republican figure heads whose arrests were coordinated with any of the TV stations in South Dakota to maximize the disgrace of being charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony.

    How about any elected figure in South Dakota? Party affiliation is not being discussed here.

  30. It’s sad all the way around. Dems just can’t catch a break to save their lives in SD.

  31. Daniel Buresh

    You have one clown who makes a comment without proof and you guys lap it up like a bitch in heat because it fits the narrative you want.

  32. Who is the supposed ‘clown’ here – Rev Hickey?

  33. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    KELO’s knowledge and access of this arrest warrant prior to its execution is a constitutionally protected right given to the press by the courts, but such a right also holds immense responsibilities for the press to not become inadvertently involved in a possible criminal flight potential as well….. It is a mixed bag in deed.

    However, after the attempted shack-down of Hildebrands business a year ago and now this, I think it fair to say we should all be concerned beyond any freedom of press debates we may have…. Because we may have a bigger issue here than that….

  34. Roger Cornelius

    Last week Trump won the presidency based on lies and conspiracy theories. After the election I promised myself to don my tinfoil hat and attack republicans at every level.
    Here’s my take, the woman was a republican political operative that set up Nesiba at the request of the SDGOP to get him out of the state senate. All you need to do is look at the timeline and the very public arrest to see that the SDGOP had a role in this.

  35. Dan, whoa, easy on the language.

    I have laid out the grounds on which the Legislature can call for Nesiba’s head. Unfortunately for those who want blood, the legal case so far is arguably problematic, quite literally he said she said, until and unless we see more witnesses.

    However, if the defendant is acknowledging that the complainant said No, he’s toast. No means No. After No, no discussion of not needing pants is allowed.

  36. Roger Cornelius

    What’s the big deal?
    Nesiba seems to be following the president-elect advice of ‘grab “em by the pussy”.

  37. mike from iowa

    No doesn’t mean no to Drumpf. He persists and then calls all those victims liars and threatens to sue.

    Sane as Roger Ailes. He wouldn’t take no from Fake Noize bimbos.They were hired to show legs and cleavage and they pretty much knew it up front,

  38. Dan, your slang is showing your political side. Kind of crude for the subject matter involved here, that is what is called, irony.

  39. Katrina Wilke

    A friend sent me this article today and after reading it I felt like throwing up. There is a fine line between responding too quickly, before all the facts are in, and responding too slowly, making it appear like I don’t care. I don’t want to have a knee jerk reaction, but I need to address this.

    Sexual assault on women knows no party line. Both sides are doing it. It is 100% wrong and unacceptable. I was absolutely devastated that Trump won the election. How could a man who treats women the way he does ever win? Surely we have come far enough that in 2016 a man like him would never win? He did win and he won because politicians and leaders on both sides are sexually assaulting women and getting away with it.

    The nail in the coffin is the last sentence. He said he thought the victim was playing hard to get. Are you serious? Did I really read that? Do I need to explain how rape and sexual assault works. Unless a person gives you clear, express consent to sexual activity, they are NOT a consenting sexual partner. The absence of “no” or even a partner’s total silence, does not constitute consent. If a partner shows disinterest in, or discomfort with, sexual contact or finishing a sexual activity, but their partner ignores their uneasiness, that qualifies as sexual assault or rape. I thought this was basic knowledge!!

    This is bad, not only for the South Dakota Democratic Party but for all the people we Democrats try to protect. The Republicans will use this against us. How can we try and protects our brothers and sisters who will be targets of legislation with this hanging over us? I am sick and I am heartbroken.

    I have been a victim of unwanted advances and sexual assault from Democratic leaders over the past couple of years. Yet I said nothing because I didn’t want to give the Republicans ammunition against us. What if I had said something? Could I have helped change the culture? I am in tears, not for myself, but for the women I could have protected. If I had said something and been more vocal about unwanted advances, maybe something would have changed.

    That’s why I am saying something now. Men, you can NOT treat women like this. You are not allowed to grab my butt without permission, you cannot let your hands linger on my lower back for too long, and you cannot objectify me and tell me how pretty I am and stare at me with that lustful look on your face. I will not tolerate this anymore. I cannot allow the young women growing up now to be treated like you treated me.

  40. Maybe we should look at the messaging between the two prior to this incident. We only know they had sex and there was some kind of relationship in order to have that. There are people out there in the world that think getting tied up and the hell beaten out of them are sexually satisfying. That kind of stuff happens all the time. The Kung Fu guy asphyxiated himself for some sort of eroticism. Some of us are speaking of the convenience of the news team to deliver the warrants and that is where I am. I understand no is no, but I do not know what kind of no was the no discussed before the issue. Maybe we should wait or something to see how the media hangs this guy.

  41. This charge is a misdemeanor. Most of the time when somebody who cooperated with an investigation and is not a a risk of flight has a misdemeanor charge they could expect to get a phone call from law enforcement notifying them of the warrant and asking them to self-report. Here, the press and law enforcement cooperated to create a spectacle and arrest Dr. Nesiba at his place of work on a college campus with the cameras rolling. That is a hit job. That is out of the ordinary. It would be interesting to know who made the decision to coordinate the arrest with the press and slap the handcuffs on Dr. Nesiba at Augie rather than to call him and have him self-report for a booking photo.

  42. Nesiba should resign straight away. Normally I’d say accusations are just accusations, but when he admits he thought she was simply playing hard to get, it shows that he likely misinterpreted her actions or words, or worse he flat-out ignored them.

    We don’t need someone with that mentality in Pierre. It isn’t ok in the White House, it isn’t ok at the local level, it isn’t ok anywhere. I don’t care what political party someone is a member of – when someone is involved in a situation like this they are unfit for public office. Period.

  43. mike from iowa

    We need to be more like wingnuts. If this kind of behavior doesn’t bother wingnuts on the federal scale, I guess it shouldn’t bother us at the state level.

    It certainly didn’t bother most rwnj enough
    to vote against Drumpf-the nations sexual predator in chief.

  44. Ben Cerwinske

    I appreciate you sharing Katrina. If found guilty, he should not be seated. People who supported Trump should also note much of what was described was said by Trump on that bus.

  45. Good that the paper asked why media had the warrant before the cops presented it, some would call that a mutual back scratch between print and televised news. Without offending, a tit for tat.

  46. Roger Cornelius

    David has an excellent analysis of Nesiba’s arrest on Northern Valley Beacon.

  47. owen reitzel

    Cory I hope you don’t mind me taking this a different way.
    Is there anyway else who didn’t like KELO showing this guy the arrest warrant before the police served it?
    I’d think that the police might not be too happy. What if Nesiba had just up and left Sioux Falls or even worse what if he pulled out a weapon?

    I guess it didn’t feel right to me. Maybe I’m wrong.

  48. The SD Supreme Court in the Walter vs Gutzler case made it clear that each House has the authority to seat anyone they choose. No qualification need be met. Gutzler was seated in spite of not meeting Constitutional residency requirements. That insured Janklow that he had a durable two third majority in the SD House! Kneip was still Governor but the Repubs had two thirds majority in each House. Rep. Joe Barnett-R Aberdeen told Kneip “Collectively, we are the Governor!”

  49. So, what was the net gain by the powers to be for this political hit job? What kind of power was Nesiba going to bring that caused this them try to destroy him, not only politically, but destroy him completely?

  50. Maybe Mr. Nesiba just needed to be punished for his wrong doings? I mean for this grabbing business against a woman’s will. Remember, no means no.

    Not for his goofy political views or strange but yet legal actions in the past to pass stupid laws.

  51. Grud I am sure you know best.Are you one of the new Trumpys.

  52. Um, probably not, Mr/Ms MOSES6. I don’t really know what that means. If you have not been paying attention or are a new fan of Mr. H and the bloggings of his friends here I must tell you, Mr. Trump is just about as insane as many. But, Mr/Ms MOSES6, I do not know best. I just know some. But I know it good, indeed.

  53. I wonder just how angry the pay day loan industry is about the vote that shut them down?

  54. On Owen’s point, I agree that it is inappropriate that the police release an arrest warrant to the media before going to the guy they plan to arrest. On principle, I’d suggest that could create a flight risk: give the media a heads up that the police are coming to arrest me, and, depending on the charges and my plans for the rest of the day, I might take the opportunity to hop a plane to Djibouti.

    That point is entirely separate from understanding that No Means No.

    It is also entirely separate from whether the Republican Senate leadership will decide to refuse to seat the duly elected Nesiba in the name of sexual decency, and then whether the SDGOP will own its hypocrisy in hanging an absolutely defenseless Democratic Senator while swearing fealty to a sex-offender President and ignoring other abuses of power for sexual gratification.

  55. Cory, the GOP is incapable of shame and they tend to be fact-free in their opinions. Especially here in the Rushmore State.

    I just read D. Newquist’s Northern Valley Beacon analysis of this highly politicized arrest on a misdemeanor. I recommend every one read it.

    And, yes, I know it’s not against the law to tip off the press … duh! … but it’s unprofessional and risky to public safety and to the security of the prosecution’s case. It was reckless. Handing KELO’s anchorman a copy of the warrant before serving it so he could get cameras into place looks like someone in the chain of command wanted this tried in the press. That official may have also handed Reynold Nesiba’s attorney grounds to declare a mistrial.

    Remember, a jury must decide guilt beyond a shadow of doubt. She said she said no and meant no. And then she continued to make out with him, according to the series of events in the statement. He said he thought she was being a bit coy with him. There is no camera recording to help a jury decide what really happened. Sounds like horny guy is invited back to have casual sex again, and got confusing signals from woman who invited him back for more intimacy.

    The point I want to make is about KELO’s professional reputation. They chose to jump into this mess when they got some very privileged information involving KELO’s anchorman. When is Angela Kennecke going to do an investigative piece on the law enforcement community’s actions in this trial-by-gotchya-camera reporting?

    I believe this is the real news story about that arrest. Go get ’em Angela!

  56. mike from iowa

    Any chance the Police Department is running for Guv in 2018? That would explain this whole sordid operation I guess.