Indictment and arrest
On May 19, 2007, Klaudt was arrested over allegations that he had raped and sexually abused his foster daughters, 17 and 19 years old at the time. He was charged with eight counts of rape, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of witness tampering, sexual contact with a person under 16 (South Dakota's age of consent), and stalking, charges stemming from his activities in Corson and Hughes counties.
Klaudt entered no plea during his two court appearances following his arrest, so the judge entered not guilty pleas on his behalf, setting his bail bond at US$100,000; Klaudt posted the required ten percent to make bail. On June 15, he was formally indicted on four felony counts of second-degree rape by the grand jury in Hughes County; he entered a not guilty plea to the indictment July 11.
 Trial and conviction
Klaudt's trial on these charges started October 30, 2007 at the Hughes County Courthouse.
On November 7, the defense rested and the 12-person jury retired to deliberate. Three hours later, Klaudt was convicted on all four counts of second-degree rape. He was sentenced on January 17, 2008, to 44 years in prison: 11 years per count, to be served consecutively. Klaudt pleaded guilty to witness tampering, and was sentenced to an additional ten years' imprisonment. Klaudt's attorney, Tim Rensch, also worked out a plea bargain for the Corson County charges shortly after the first trial.[
A former South Dakota lawmaker is accused of molesting his own foster children and legislative pages.
Ted Klaudt, 49, a Republican rancher from Walker, faces a long list of charges: eight counts of rape, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of witness tampering, sexual contact with a person under 16, and stalking.
Court documents mention five possible victims. Three were foster children between the ages of 15 and 19 who lived with Klaudt's family. One is a cousin of one of those girls, and the fifth is a friend of Klaudt's daughter.
In the most disturbing accusation, the girls say Klaudt had them convinced they could earn up to $20,000 by donating their eggs to a fertility clinic. And even though he has no medical training, the girls say Klaudt did all the supposed "exams" and "procedures" himself.
Former State Representative Ted Klaudt is accused of manipulating, molesting, intimidating and threatening teenage girls who the state of South Dakota paid him to raise.
Lou Raguse: Ted what do you have to say about these charges?
Klaudt: No comment.
Lou: All your voters over the years? What do you want them to know?
Klaudt: (no response)
The first victim to come forward told investigators Klaudt offered to earn her enough money to pay for college by helping her donate her eggs to a fertility clinic. She says Klaudt used a fake email address from the supposed clinic agent to trick her into letting him perform what's supposed to be a surgical procedure.
The victims say Klaudt touched them while they were foster children at his home here in Walker. But the girls say the molestation also happened in Pierre during legislative sessions while some of them also served as pages.
Five different girls now say Klaudt did things ranging from manual "breast exams" to the painful procedure of actually going inside of them with a speculum and collecting body fluids. The girls say when they cried, Klaudt gave them a beer and told them to toughen up.
Lou: Ted, do you deny the accusations?
Klaudt: (no response)
He's not telling us anything. But when investigators questioned him in February. He admitted to much of what the girls allege, including sending messages from the fake email account. Klaudt told investigators the girls asked him to help them donate the eggs. But he admits never sending off a specimen.
Inside his home, investigators found Klaudt's briefcase filled with all the tools the girls say he used in his supposed "exams."
The charges reflect alleged crimes against two of the five girls. The most serious of the crimes, 2nd degree rape, carries up to 50 years in prison.
Friday, Klaudt's bail was set at $100,000 on the Hughes County charges. He was taken to jail, where he'll be held until he can make bail.
Claims to fame: Former South Dakota state representative; farmer; child rapist
Moral apex: Raped two of his foster daughters.
â€œThe two girls,â€ reported AP, â€œtestified that Klaudt touched their breasts and genitals as part of a phony scheme to help them make money by donating their reproductive eggs to infertile couples. The examinations occurred in Klaudtâ€™s motel suite during the 2005 and 2006 sessions of the South Dakota Legislature.â€
Klaudt sent some 70 bogus e-mail messages to one of the girls using the name â€œTerri Lineeâ€ â€” a fictitious representative of a fictitious agency promising payments of tens of thousands of dollars for the girlâ€™s eggs.
The girl then testified that â€œKlaudt did up to ten examinations of her breasts and vaginal area, supposedly to see if she would qualify as an egg donor.â€
What happened next: It took the jury just three hours to convict Klaudt on four counts of second-degree rape.
But, wait, thereâ€™s more: Klaudt also faced ten more charges of â€œrape and other offensesâ€ in his home county â€” but plea-bargained out in order to avoid a second trial.
â€œThe formal charges,â€ reported KSFY, included â€œ4 counts of second-degree rape, 2 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, 1 count of sexual contact with a child under the age of 16, 2 counts of witness tampering and 1 count of stalking.â€
He pleaded guilty to the two counts of witness tampering, admitting that â€œhe offered to forgive a debt if the mother of one of the foster daughters would call off an investigation of his actions. And in the earlier trial, one of the young women testified Klaudt had urged her to lie to authorities.â€
Where he is now: Free on bond, awaiting sentencing (slated for January 4, 2008) on the rape convictions, and due for sentencing six days later for the witness-tampering charges.
He could get up to 100 years in prison â€” 25 years for each of the four counts of rape â€” plus another twenty years more on the latter charges. (If he had gone to trial for the ten counts of â€œrape and other offensesâ€ in Corson County, he could have been racked up an additional 140 years in the pen.)
His lawyer says any decision to appeal the rape convictions will come after Klaudt is sentenced on all charges.
its looking very good. Tedâ€™s report was excellent the breast glands are very good position and the oveies are in exact position and the uturis looks very healthy. Dont forget the next test that needs to be done on sunday or monday. Make sure you contact Ted and remind him. Ted said you were a little upset hun please try to relax and the tests wond hurt as much please dont make Ted to upset. Thanks Terri
P.S. you need to remind Ted to do the breast measurment this time and the next three times he will know what this means
Hello Ted i know you are busy but i emailed [A.M.] and she said i needed to talk to you. I havent recieved the last two reports. If you didnt get them done then if she ever wants to get into the program you and I will need to talk call me. There is still one last chance if she willing to let you do this test. Its a vaginal stimulation test iam sure you have what is needed to perform this test. It all up to her I know she will need to cooperate with you and let you perform the test on her. I can help you with suggestion to make it go easier. Please talk with her this is her last chance. Iam Cc. a copy of this to her. Thanks for all you do for her and the world of egg donation. Thanks Terri
[A.M.] i takked with Ted on Thursday afternoon thanks for the right #. He is willing to get this testing done for you. There are some committments you have to make first. You have to promise you will do what we need to be done. I can explain the procudure to you if you like just let me know. He did tell me you are on your period which is very good again. You need to promise that you will not do the crying act stuff he just cant do it. He feels like he is hurting you and he told me that is the last thing he would ever do is hurt you. [A.M.] you are 18 now and it time you start to act like and 18 year old girl. I dont mean to sound rude but come on girl it not like you are a virgin.
I can send Ted a relaxer for you if you want. I know any type of alcohol will work just as well.
I have worked alot with Ted and he has never sent us a bad donor. I cant believe Ted has put up with all the issues you have had and now you dont want to take the time and finish it up. I sent him and email and he said he would have time when ever it would work for you. I really dont know why he just dont tell you to forget it really. You see to beable to stall more than anyone i know. Well you are Ted client and he is determined to have us give you an chance. If you cant meet with Ted this next week the sept donations if off.
i would like to know if you have talked with Ted. I am affraid to call him again as upset as he was the last time we talked. I dont understand it you are like inches away from getting it completed and now after all the work is done you both are dropping to ball. I dont understand it. I am at a loss you have prety much been accepted in the program so why not finish it. Please and i ask please talk with Ted about getting it all put together. I hope you will atleast reply to this email please iam begging you we need you so bad now. Thanks Terri
I really do need ted very very bad Please talk to him and atleast have him take my calls.
I am getting so discussed with this whole deal i mean he had several female he was working with inculuding u and u allway seemed to be the one that could get to him. â€¦ So PLEASE TALK TO TED LIKE NOW RATHER THEN SOON. Thank You Terri
u must know what happened to have him feel this way Please tell me so i can avoid the subject when and if ted will ever talk with me. Please [A.M.] help all the couples who need u and ted to complete there lifes goals. Thanks Terri
I know teds love for you is unconditional. ted would never not take your call. [A.M.] why would you make up such a lie about a man who loves you so deeply. Are you going to move on this or you going to keep messing around and lying i cant put up with. I will give you until Monday afternoon to make this happen or just forget it but dont lie ever again to me. A very upset terri
I will await your email and see what Teds decission will be. Please beg him into completing the testing and what ever else you need to have done. Thanks Terri
â€” Typically illiterate missives to victim â€œA.M.â€
from the fictitious â€œTerri Lineeâ€
â€¢ Hughes County, where Klaudt was tried, spent $8,846 to prosecute him.
â€¢ The Klaudt case was voted (by â€œSouth Dakota Associated Press member newspaper editors an
d broadcast news directorsâ€) the number-four news story in South Dakota for 2007.