legislative page from South Dakota told lawmakers on Tuesday
that a state senator sexually groped him last year while the
two shared a motel room at the start of the young
man's weeklong stint in the legislature. A
lawyer for the state senate identified the page as
Austin Wiese, 19, whose family was close to Sen. Dan Sutton.
While it is
Associated Press policy not to identify people who say they
are the victims of sexual assault, Wiese's name was used in
the senate committee's public hearing, which was
carried live on the Internet, and has been circulated
by other media in the state.
The senate has
accused Sutton of sexual misconduct. He could be censured,
disciplined, or expelled when the full senate votes on the
matter. The vote is expected January 31.
attorney general and other law enforcement agents
investigated the allegations and made no arrests.
Wiese told the
committee Tuesday that he and Sutton shared a motel room
for two nights last February in Fort Pierre. On the first
night, he said, he did not realize ahead of time that
the room had only one king-size bed and alleged that
he was awakened repeatedly by Sutton touching him on his
side, back, and hip.
Wiese said he
kept repositioning himself and turning over. ''I was
stunned and didn't know what to do,'' he said.
On the second
night, Wiese said, Sutton touched his genitals. Wiese said
he hopped out of bed, claiming he had missed a cell phone
call, and left the room. He stayed elsewhere the next
Mike Butler, said the story is complex and includes a
failed business deal that involved Sutton and Wiese's
father. ''Dan Sutton faces far more here today than
merely a judgment,'' Butler said. ''He faces the loss
of his good office, the loss of what is left of his
Wiese did not
stay with Sutton again and told senate attorney Jim McMahon
he did not say anything to Sutton about what had happened.
Wiese said Sutton never asked why Wiese decided to
stay elsewhere or why he had tried to avoid Sutton in
the capitol. (AP)