PIERRE, S.D – A former state lawmaker was convicted of raping two former foster daughters during physical examinations that he claimed would help them sell their reproductive eggs.
The jury on Tuesday found Ted Klaudt guilty of all four counts of second-degree rape after deliberating for three hours. Klaudt, 49, could get as many as 25 years in prison for each count when he is sentenced in January.
Circuit Judge James W. Anderson ordered Klaudt to undergo a psychosexual evaluation before sentencing, as required by state law.
Klaudt also is scheduled to stand trial next week for rape and other offenses in Corson County, where he lives.
Klaudt's attorney Tim Rensch didn't deny during the trial that his client gave the girls physical examinations or that they were part of a scheme by which the girls were told they could make thousands of dollars for selling their reproductive eggs.
But he urged jurors to acquit his client, arguing that both girls were at least 16 years old when the exams took place — putting them above the age of consent in South Dakota — and that they both consented to the exams.
"This was a despicable, terrible scheme he was perpetrating on these girls, but it was not forcible rape," Rensch said during his closing arguments.
State prosecutor Patricia DeVaney argued that Klaudt raped the young women.
"To say the girls consented to what was done to them is absolutely preposterous," DeVaney told the jury in closing arguments. "How can you exercise your free will if you are being lied to and manipulated throughout the whole thing?"
The two former foster daughters testified that Klaudt touched their breasts and genitals while conducting what he said were examinations to determine whether they were healthy enough to donate their eggs. The examinations occurred in Klaudt's motel suite in Pierre during the 2005 and 2006 sessions of the South Dakota Legislature, and one of the young women was a page during one of those sessions.
The first woman, now 19, testified last week that Klaudt performed as many as 10 tests on her, but only three occurred in Pierre in his motel suite. She said she went along with the exams because she believed the egg donation scheme was real and she hoped to make thousands of dollars.
The second woman, now 20, said she initially wanted Klaudt to examine her because she wanted to make money donating eggs and wanted to find out whether she was fertile. She said that when he examined her in the Pierre motel room in early 2006, she asked him to stop a genital examination three times but that he did not stop.
The girls lived in Klaudt's home as part of a program that provides foster care for young people who have no safe home to return to after completing time in juvenile reform programs.
State law officers testified they confiscated Klaudt's computer and recovered e-mails and chat messages, often containing vulgar language, that he sent under aliases. One of the accounts was set up to look as if it belonged to a woman who worked for an egg-donation program, and that fake person urged one of the foster daughters to undergo another exam by Klaudt.
Klaudt, a Republican served eight years in the state House from 1999 to 2006 and left because of term limits. He ran for a state Senate seat last year but lost to a Democrat.