Two arrested for USD student assault Suspects could face 15 years in prison

Two arrested for USD student assault Suspects could face 15 years in prison by David Lias A 22-year-old University of South Dakota student is a patient in Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls after being assaulted early Sunday morning on campus.

Jeff Strong, a member of the USD football team and resident assistant in Norton Hall, received numerous head and facial injuries. He was taken to the Sioux Falls hospital by ambulance.

University and city law enforcement, following their policies, didn't release the victim's name. USD's student newspaper, The Volante, identified Strong as the injured man after talking with students and university officials.

According to the Vermillion Police Department, a USD Department of Public Safety officer on foot patrol encountered the assault on Strong near Dakota Hall at approximately 12:20 a.m. April 27.

Two males instantly fled the scene on foot, according to the news release, and managed to elude USD officers.

By Sunday afternoon, local law enforcement had determined the identity of the two men who they suspect assaulted Strong.

USD police officers arrested Scott Beckman, 21, and Mitchell Rivard, 20. Both are students at the university.

They were arrested for aggravated assault, which is a Class 3 felony.

A Class 3 felony is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment in the state penitentiary or a $15,000 fine or both.

Both men were taken to the Clay County Jail. Bond was set at $25,000 cash only.

Beckman is free after posting bail, said Clay County State's Attorney Tami Bern. Rivard remains in jail.

The two men's arraignment hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday before Circuit Judge Art Rusch.

Officers from the Vermillion Police Department assisted personnel from the USD Department of Public Safety.

USD Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Lavallee told The Volante that once USD Public Safety completes its investigation, the university will conduct its own investigation and consider action.

Beckman and Rivard are currently on interim suspension, which will allow them to return to campus only for finals next week.

Lavallee stressed that the two men will be prohibited from the USD campus except to take their tests.

Sunday's incident was the first aggravated assault on the university campus since 1998.

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