Former Mitchell legion baseball player enters plea deal

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELOLAND) — A former Mitchell Legion baseball player has entered a guilty plea, according to court documents.

Lincoln Bates, 19, was one of six Post 18 players charged with rape, following an alleged incident last year at a Rapid City hotel. Now, he will be a key witness in his teammates’ cases.

On May 30, the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office sent a letter to Bates with details of a plea offer, giving him the option to plead guilty to one count of accessory to a felony.

It’s a Class 5 felony, which means he will face up to five years in prison.

By accepting the offer, and entering a guilty plea this week, Bates also agreed to testify in all hearings relating to the events that happened in June of 2023.

The Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office was unable to comment because of a gag order, but State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel told KELOLAND News about the case last August.

“I do not think that this was an isolated incident within the Mitchell Legion baseball team. I do believe that this was a culture of repeated behavior that had been going on for possibly years,” Roetzel said in August 2023.

Once Bates is sentenced in August 2024, the rape charges he initially faced will be dismissed.

The rest of the players charged in the case are scheduled to be in court for a status hearing on July 1.

In April, a judge found Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden not guilty of a felony and not reporting child abuse. A charge against Mitchell Baseball Association former board member Jeremy Borgan was also dismissed.