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Rodeo Rape

Judge to rule on suppression motion

June 24, 2003

By Jim Holland, Rapid City Journal Staff Writer

RAPID CITY -- A 7th Circuit judge is expected to rule in a couple of weeks on whether statements a Rapid City man made to an investigator are admissible in the man's trial on multiple rape and sexual-contact charges.

Lyle "Swede" Johnson, 60, is charged with three counts of second-degree rape and three counts of sexual contact with a child under the age of 16. 

Johnson, a former adviser to the Rapid City Central High School rodeo team, was arrested in March after an investigation that began in September of 2002. 

Prosecutors said the charges relate to incidents occurring from the late 1970s through 2002, allegedly involving victims between the ages of 13 and 16.

Johnson's attorney, Pennington County public defender Mike Stonefield, filed a motion to suppress possible admissions Johnson made to a Pennington County Sheriff's Office investigator during two interviews before Johnson's arrest. 

Judge Thomas L. Trimble said he would rule on the motion only after attorneys on both sides of the case file written briefs.

No trial date has been set for Johnson, who, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine on each count of sexual contact, and 25 years in prison and a $25,000 on each count of rape. 

Johnson remains in Pennington County Jail. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 19.