Foster Daughter Sues Ex-S.D. State Lawmaker Who Raped Her and Another Girl

One of two foster daughters raped by a former South Dakota lawmaker is suing him and his wife.

Ex-state Rep. Ted Klaudt, 49, was convicted on four counts of second-degree rape involving the two children at his hotel suite during the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions in Pierre. Klaudt then pleaded guilty to two counts of witness tampering to avoid a second trial on charges he raped the same girls in his home in Walker.

He is serving a 54-year state prison sentence.

Prosecutors said Klaudt coerced the girls into fake medical examinations under the pretext that he was checking them for possibly donating eggs to infertile couples. Both young women testified that Klaudt penetrated them with his fingers and a sex toy and touched their breasts.

Klaudt's lawyers argued that his actions did not amount to rape because the girls consented. Prosecutors said Klaudt's deception made any consent invalid — an argument reiterated in the federal lawsuit, which was filed March 5.

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. One of the girls served as a legislative page, running errands for lawmakers.

The girl who sued now lives in Mandan, N.D. The Associated Press has a policy of not identifying sexual assault victims.

The lawsuit seeks at least $75,000 in damages from Klaudt and his wife, Connie Klaudt, who is accused of not doing enough to protect the girls from her husband's abuse.

Connie Klaudt told the AP on Tuesday she had not been served with the complaint and did not have a lawyer.

"I cared for and loved all of my kids, including (the girl), just as if she was my own child. If she had come to me with any problem and told me, I would have taken care of it," she said.

One of the girl's lawyers, Michael Tobin of Sioux Falls, said he did not want to comment beyond the complaint.

The suit accuses the Klaudts of negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty. Ted Klaudt also is accused of battery, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and his wife also is accused of negligence.

Klaudt served eight years in the House from 1999-2006 and left because of term limits.