Former Fairmont man facing felony charges

FAIRMONT — A Sioux Falls man is facing felony charges in Martin County.

Jesse Chad Crowell, 28, has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

According to the complaint:

At 9:56 a.m. Oct. 18, a Fairmont police officer was monitoring radio traffic when he heard another officer take a phone call regarding a sexual assault. The officers later met, and the officer who took the call said he spoke with a mandatory reporter who indicated a 15-year-old girl reported she had been raped twice in August. The mandatory reporter said the suspect was a family friend who was 27 years old. The teen apparently told her mother about the assault two weeks earlier.

At 1:49 p.m., the officer made contact with the mother, who indicated her daughter told her she had been raped in August. The woman said the individual who assaulted her daughter was Crowell, who formerly lived in Fairmont but had since moved to Sioux Falls. She said Crowell was a family friend. The officer requested permission to speak with the teen at her school and the woman consented.

At 2:29 p.m., the officer met with the teen at her school. She said that in late August, she agreed to spend the night at Crowell’s residence. The teen said she slept in Crowell’s bed because she did not know his roommate or friends, and did not feel comfortable anywhere else in the house.

The teen said she woke up in the middle of the night to Crowell taking off her clothes, and that she tried to push Crowell off. She said she told him to “Just stop” and “No” several times, but Crowell continued. The officer asked if she and Crowell had intercourse, and she said they did. She said Crowell did not stop until she got mad, at which time he said “Fine” and exited the bedroom. She said no one else in the house would have heard anything because she did not scream while the assault took place.

The teen said she was afraid to tell her mother about what happened. She said Crowell later asked her mother if the teen could spend another night with him. The teen believed this to be around Sept. 1. The teen said her mother allowed her to go with him because she did not know about the previous incident. The teen said a friend of hers also was there, but she did not want to name the friend. The teen’s mother provided the friend’s name.

The teen said she and her friend spent the night at Crowell’s residence, where they watched movies and both slept in Crowell’s bed. She said her friend woke up to Crowell taking her clothes off, but she pushed Crowell off, stating she had to use the bathroom. The teen said her friend later told her Crowell had penetrated her.

The teen said that while her friend was in the bathroom, she woke up to Crowell taking her clothes off. She said she told him to stop and he did.

The officer confirmed the incidents occurred at Crowell’s residence in the 1300 block of N. Prairie Ave. in Fairmont. On Oct. 23, the officer interviewed the teen’s friend.

During the interview, the friend said that on the night in question, she drove the teen and herself to Crowell’s residence at midnight and watched movies there.

She said she and the teen later passed out in Crowell’s bed. She said she woke up and went to the bathroom for about 10 minutes, and when she returned it appeared Crowell and the teen were having sex. She said she did not hear the teen say no or anything during that time. The friend said Crowell and the teen stopped what they were doing and the friend laid down in bed next to the teen.

The officer asked if the friend is she felt that the teen consented to having sex with Crowell, and she replied she was concerned about answering the question as the teen’s family would get upset if she did not support the teen’s story. The officer told her he wanted the truth, and she said she felt the teen knew what she was doing that night.

On Oct. 23, the officer had a phone conversation with Crowell. The officer told Crowell he was going to run a list of names by him to see what type of relationship he had with them.

The officer first asked Crowell about the teen’s friend, whom Crowell said he did not know. The officer then asked if he knew the teen herself. Crowell said he had hung out a few times at her residence and that was about it. Crowell said they were friends who met after he gave another of the teen’s friends a ride home.

The officer asked how old he thought the teen was, and Crowell stated she was 17. The officer then told Crowell the teen was alleging he forced her to have sex, and that a witness confirmed that he and the teen had a sexual relationship.

Crowell said both of them had been drinking the night the event in question happened. Crowell said he asked the teen if they could have sex and she said yes and removed her clothes. He said that afterward the teen and her friend left for a while, but the teen later returned to spend the night with him. Crowell was unsure of the date this occurred, but confirmed that it took place at his then-residence in Fairmont.

The officer asked how many times he and the teen had sex, and Crowell said it had been twice.

When asked if anything had happened between him and the teen’s friend, Crowell said he kissed her and that was all.

The officer then asked about the first time he and the teen had sex, which Crowell told him about.

The officer then clarified with Crowell that he knew the teen’s age, which Crowell said is why he did not ask her to date or do anything. Crowell said she told him she was going to be 17. The officer said that if she was going to be 17 that meant she was 16 at the time, and Crowell agreed. The officer stated the teen is 15, and Crowell stated it was news to him.

The officer later spoke with the teen’s mother, who did not recall stating the teen’s age when she spoke with Crowell.