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South Dakota State Senator Accused of Groping Male Page

Hearings are currently being held in Pierre, South Dakota over allegations by former legislative page Austin Wiese that Democratic state senator Dan Sutton groped him inappropriately last February when the two shared a Holiday Express motel room at the beginning of the page's weeklong assignment in the legislature:

Suttonwiese_1"Wiese, who was staying with Sutton because Sutton was a close personal and family friend, told the committee that the two shared a king-sized bed. Sutton touched him repeatedly on the back and hips on the first night, Wiese testified. He said Sutton moved his hand over Wiese's shorts on the second night, resting it over his genitals for 30 seconds to a minute."

Nineteen-year-old Wiese, whose main evidence in the case is a secretly taped conversation by Agent Brian Zeeb of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation in which there is no clear admission of wrongdoing by Sutton, says that he did not know in advance of his motel room stay with Sutton that there would only be one king-sized bed.

In the inconclusive tape, Sutton tells Wiese he does not recall the incident. Said Sutton: "Well I, I walk in my sleep. I, I move around. I mean Austin, I will do whatever I can. I am, I am sorry and if I. ... Heck, obviously I, obviously I, if you remember, obviously I did it."

Wiese told lawyers on the witness stand that he agreed Sutton never admitted to wrongdoing: "I'll agree with you he never makes a 100 percent (admission). Just these references."

Hearing are scheduled to continue today.

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  1. Great. Another closeted politician is innappropriate with a page.

    The story does seem strange though. Why didn't the 19 year old adult resist if the advance is unwanted? I mean, on the second night his hand rested over the genital area for 30 seconds to a minute? Seems strange to me that he wouldn't freak out or at least do something.

    I'm sure it prolly happened, I just think the page might be playing up the "unwanted" part a bit to cash in. Just my thought.

    Posted by: Aaron | Jan 24, 2007 10:06:14 AM

  2. Aaron, I tend to agree with you. While it may never be appropriate to 'blame the victim', if someone groped my business without my approval I would go ape-shit.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 24, 2007 10:21:56 AM

  3. Reeks of bullshit.
    Not a child.
    A man.
    Guys his age are fighting and dying in IRAQ.

    Say sorry man - not my scene - not interested. And move on. NO harrassment yet from what i see.

    Climbing in bed and letting someone feel you up without complaint may lead them to grope you the following night - that is how men test each other out.

    Say no brothers if not interested.

    Posted by: RJP3 | Jan 24, 2007 10:32:45 AM

  4. "Wiese, who was staying with Sutton because Sutton was a close personal and family friend"

    The fact that the guy was friends with the kids family could be the reason he did not know how to repond. While he is 19, not all those over the age of 17 are adult in their behaviour or their life experiences. He may in fact have issues with his own sexuality, which Sutton clearly does, and sounds like he took advantage of the younger kid.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Jan 24, 2007 10:33:41 AM

  5. While I tend to aqree with RJP3, the issue here is the position of authority. If someone grabs you at the gym, then just say no. If your boss grabs you at the gym, that's illegal.

    Posted by: dattexas | Jan 24, 2007 10:45:49 AM

  6. I agree with RJP3.

    Posted by: miss dna | Jan 24, 2007 10:47:31 AM

  7. Oh my! I can't believe it! A Democrat sexually harrassed someone. I can't believe that it even got coverage on this blog since the Democrats are so revered on this site. I'm sure that this is just a play by the Evangelicals and Right-Winged Republicans to shame this good Democrat.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 24, 2007 11:02:22 AM

  8. I agree with RJP3 and add:

    He (the page) stayed in same bed first night and allowed the touching of his back and hips.
    This sends more of a green light, whereas, if the first night touching concerned the page, he could have opted for a separate bed I would think.

    And what's his motive here? Sutton now may have profesional/personal/family fallout, but I question the young man's motive other than to "get it off his chest because it was bothering him." Anything else is self-serving.

    Throw the case out.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jan 24, 2007 11:03:28 AM

  9. Um, since when is it proper conduct to touch first and and ask questions later? If you're that hard up, then go to a gay bar or the baths. You people forget that some don't want to be touched, and you don't have the right to put your hand on someone's dick hoping they'll react the way you want them to. And unless the guy asked to be touched on his hip or anywhere else, some responsibility has to be placed on Sutton.

    Posted by: dattexas | Jan 24, 2007 11:18:51 AM

  10. Why would a 19 year old be sharing a bed with an older man if not for sex? I don't believe that hotel rooms in South Dakota are extremely expensive. The whole story is weird. Newsflash to 19 year olds: If you get into bed with somebody, that person might touch you!

    Posted by: Nomen Nominum | Jan 24, 2007 11:26:03 AM

  11. It does sound suspicious, but I am reminded of the "she was asking for it" defence that so many alleged rapists used (at least before it was shut down up here in Canada).

    Things get particularly murky when you have an obvious power imbalance (family friend - probably of the parents - AND elected official/legislator v. barely legal kid). You're lying in bed in the middle of the night and this hand comes creeping out at you - I know at that age (and in my closeted state) I wouldn't have known what to do for a few seconds (although a minute seems a bit much).

    I guess I'm saying there isn't enough evidence to judge one way or another...not yet.

    Posted by: eclecticon | Jan 24, 2007 11:45:26 AM

  12. Yawn....The only way this could be interesting is if Wiese is pregnant.

    Posted by: jessejames | Jan 24, 2007 11:47:12 AM

  13. Dude is just pissed because he didn't 'finish'.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 24, 2007 12:19:14 PM

  14. I'd hate to compare quotes above with the Foley case, which did not even involve physical contact. This does sound like classic work-related sexual harrassment, which as we all know, should lead to the dismissal of the accused. However, the main lapse in judgment was sharing a bed (??). If they found out too late that they would have to share a bed, the proper thing would have been for one of them to sleep on the floor or couch if there was one, or if possible get a separate room. End of story. However, if the SS were asleep and was simply moving around in his sleep (which is hard to prove one way or another) then this was inadvertant contact and not harassment. The legal exposure here ranges from unwanted sexual advances (assault), battery, sexual assault to rape, none of which are minor offenses. In the civil realm there is workplace harassment to negligence that can be considered. He could be toast. (Many states shield lawmakers and other state officials from civil proceedings through a general immunity clause).

    Posted by: anon | Jan 24, 2007 12:27:13 PM

  15. Yawn....The only way this could be interesting is if Wiese is pregnant.

    Yeah, sure. You found it interesting enough to click the comments button and write a comment.

    Posted by: dattexas | Jan 24, 2007 12:35:57 PM

  16. DATTEXAS...

    You are so correct...


    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 24, 2007 1:06:24 PM

  17. and I still think he is just pissed because it wasn't a good handjob.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 24, 2007 1:09:34 PM

  18. Let's be honest. He laid there for 'almost a minute' While dude jerked him? If a good porno is on, I can do it in 30 seconds. So evidently the older Statesman was not doing it correctly. Dude was either real drunk-or real gay, and not interested.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 24, 2007 1:14:18 PM

  19. Upon further reflection, he probably cannot be charged with rape according to most state laws, but I'm sure there will be some consequences.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 24, 2007 1:42:27 PM

  20. I love how most of y'all give this guy a pass but when it was Foley (republican), you condemed him and screamed to high heaven about his guilt. What freaking hypocrites? Maybe the kid is secretly in the employ of the RNC. He prob went to bed dressed in a suggestive manner and was asking for it.
    And yet he goes back for it a second night.

    Posted by: ousslander | Jan 24, 2007 3:21:30 PM

  21. This story is sad, for both parties..Just goes to show how repressed people are, that they could not have this conversation beforehand.

    Also I wouldn't be too harsh on the 19y old, cause unless you've been touched without consent then you don't know how to react: with a respected person it's the "polite" solution to try and let it slide, and pretend it did not happen.

    It's not wise to see life through a pornographic lense, and think every twink is dying to be molested by an older man..And let's even pretend he's curious: who says this man is his type, or if he doesn't find him repulsive? There's no way to know really.

    Posted by: Da | Jan 24, 2007 5:38:25 PM

  22. "Oh, I must have just done it while I was sleeping" is complete bullshit. He knew what he was doing, which is why he tested the kid the first night and moved in for the kill on the second.

    Feeling up your friend's son is just gross; a legislator feeling up a page is sexual harassment. Who cares what party he's in; this isn't OK.

    Posted by: Wells. | Jan 24, 2007 5:52:13 PM

  23. I am totally amazed that many of the posts are accusing the 19 year old or questioning this! The only reason this is not getting the attention it deserves here is because he was a democrat! Let a repub, Foley for example, get caught doing something and they are roasted and strung up!!!

    Very hypocritical. NO GROWN MAN SLEEPS IN THE SAME BE WITH A KID, YOUNG ADULT OR ANOTHER MAN WITHOUT HAVING A REASON! The sharing of a bed is absolutely unacceptable and the fairness by which this dem is being treated is disgusting!

    He deserves the same regard as Foley. Anyone that can hold back on him for his actions because he is a dem is totally wrong.

    Posted by: RB | Jan 24, 2007 6:02:40 PM

  24. Jeez, some of you people are cynical creeps. Get real. This kid knew this guy as a family friend. How dare you impugn the character of this kid. Do you know how hard it must have been for him to come forward to seek justice?

    Sometimes, I find myself disgusted with the catty bullshit that passes for enlightened comments. Maybe it was your fantasy as a kid to be felt up by an older man, but it's not everyone's. Shockingly, some people, gay or straight at age 19, just don't know what to do in this kind of situation.

    But, blame the victim is A.O.K. for porn-saturated cynics who can't empathize with someone in this kind of situation.

    The senator admitted he did but couched his words.

    Posted by: noah | Jan 24, 2007 10:21:00 PM

  25. Who gives a shit if "Shockingly, some people, gay or straight at age 19, just don't know what to do in this kind of situation."? Guess what, part of being an adult is being able to tell some gross old todger trying to beat you off to go fuck off and leave you alone. If you can't do that, well tough shit, you can vote, smoke, drive, go to war and kill people, act in porn movies and pretty much anything else adults are alowed to do at that age. grow up.

    Posted by: oh please | Jan 25, 2007 2:25:47 AM

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