October 09, 2014

New Development in Mette Rape Scandal

LPLP Staff

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There has been a development in the Mette Rape Scandal in South Dakota. The scandal involves the highest levels of the executive branch of the state government including South Dakota attorney general Marty Jackley. The Lakota People’ Law Project Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan describes the scandal as, “the most egregious case of a state cover-up of child sex abuse in this nation’s history.”

The latest development involves Brandon Taliaferro, the former Brown County Deputy State’s attorney, who initially charged Richard Mette with 23 felony counts of child sex abuse and his wife Wendy with 11 counts for allegedly abetting the crimes.

After pursing the case that had to potential to cause embarrassment for the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Taliaferro was accused by prosecutors of tampering with witnesses and evidence, bribery and perjury.

The case never made it to trail because Judge Gene Paul Kean tossed the case out of court before it made it in front of a jury, while Kean lectured the prosecution about letting inter-office politics spill into the state’s judiciary system. As South Dakota Public Radio broadcaster Vicky Wicks revealed on Wednesday, Oct. 9, Taliferro was attempting to get his arrest record expunged so he can answer truthfully when asked if he has been arrested.

Read Wicks excellent and incisive article here:


The Lakota People’s Law Project believes unequivocally that the Mette Rape Scandal emphasizes the corruption that is inherent in South Dakota’s Department of Social Services (DSS). The state clearly believes it can destroy the lives of young Native children and shield child rapists with impunity. Anyone who dare question their method of operations will be subject to retaliation and have their careers and reputations sullied.

For more background of the Mette Rape Scandal please read the following:

The young Lakota foster children under the care of Richard and Wendy Mette repeatedly told the DSS about the abusive acts Richard Mette committed for more than a decade from 2001-2011, but the state did not want to believe them.

It was not until a doctor noticed marks of abuse on one of the children and alerted the police, that something was finally done. Taliaferro, a young prosecutor in the Brown County State Attorney’s Office, brought 23 counts against Richard Mette and 11 felony counts against Wendy Mette for a prolonged series of crimes too despicable to recount here.

The state, which stood to suffer embarrassment due to the case, did not allow the Mette case to go to trial, instead dropping 22 of the counts against Richard Mette and all counts against Wendy.

Richard Mette got 15 years in prison and is eligible for parole in 6½ years, instead of what should have been a life sentence.

However, the state’s malice did not stop there.

Instead of rallying around the children and prosecuting Richard and Gwendolyn Mette to the fullest extent, the state of South Dakota pushed back against Taliaferro and Schwab. During the trial the children were removed from the Mette home and put under the care of their older and capable sister, but the state of South Dakota chose to put the Lakota children back in the care of Gwendolyn Mette.

Help us combat the racial bias and corruption in South Dakota.