RC judge ponders if convicted rapist will get second trial - KOTA Territory News

RC judge ponders if convicted rapist will get second trial


A Rapid City man sentenced to life in prison for raping a child was back in court Tuesday for a hearing to decide whether he will get another trial.    

John Rolfe was convicted in 2011 on three counts of first-degree rape and 12 counts of possessing child pornography. A portion of the trial was closed to the public to protect the underage victim.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that 7th Circuit Judge Thomas Trimble must make specific findings on whether the courtroom should have been closed.

Tuesday, Trimble heard testimony from the victim and eight people, including relatives and counselors. The victim stated that she would not have been able to give details of what happened if her testimony were open to the public. Counselors say she was not sleeping and would have been ashamed and physically ill if her testimony had been in open court.  

Attorneys have ten days to prepare their findings, then the judge will make a ruling.

If the trial is found to have been improperly closed, Rolfe would get a new trial.

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