By Travis Gulbrandson
VERMILLION – Burbank resident Joseph T. Night has been sentenced to 15 years in the state penitentiary for sex-related offenses, including the rape of a child.
Night, 63, was sentenced to 15 years for rape in the first degree and 10 years for sexual contact with a child under 16 years of age at a hearing Tuesday afternoon in the Clay County Courthouse.
The charges will be served concurrently, and are a Class 1 felony and a Class 3 felony, respectively. In South Dakota, rape in the first degree is classified as when the victim is under 13 years of age.
During the sentencing, Judge Glen Eng also ordered Night to comply with the terms of a psychosexual evaluation, and to pay more than $2,000 in related fines and court costs, as well as any costs of counseling for his two victims.
Night’s charges stem from an incident that took place in May.
In an interview with the Vermillion Plain Talk earlier this year, States Attorney Teddi Gertsma said law enforcement responded to a 911 call that said an assault was occurring.
On further investigation, more charges were filed, Gertsma said.
In court on Tuesday, Gertsma said Night subjected two boys to sexual contact, including rape.
She added that in an evaluation, Night said he was “not horrified” by what he had done, and that the boys will recover.
Night also told the boys not to tell anyone what had happened, Gertsma said.
Citing Night’s age, his attorney, public defender Jason Rumpsa, said sentencing him to the maximum 50 years for rape in the first degree would be “a slow death sentence.”
Rumpsa gave the judge a stack of letters vouching for Night’s character.
He added that Night truly does care for his victims, that he wants them to get counseling, and hopes they understand his actions weren’t their fault.
The crimes took place during the period of 2007-2010, and Night stopped committing them “of his own accord,” Rumpsa said.
Night also spoke in his own defense, reading a letter addressed to one of his victims.
In it, he called his victims “the most important part of (his) life,” and said “I really regret hurting them.”
Eng said that while he believes Night feels guilty for his actions, he pointed to a statement he made earlier this year, in which he said that once he had access to his victims, he “went full-on pedophile.”
Night was taken out of the courtroom by a law enforcement officer following the sentencing.