Mitchell man pleads guilty to rape of a minor under the age of 13

MITCHELL, S.D.(KMIT)- A Mitchell man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to first-degree rape of a minor under the age of 13.

43-year old Robert Gerstenecker faced multiple counts of child pornography and was scheduled to go to trial in October.  Several other charges were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.

A tip from a reporting party who saw what was believed to be child pornography during a video call with Gerstenecker led authorities to obtain a search warrant of Gerstenecker’s residence.

Officers allegedly found methamphetamine and a hidden cell phone which contained an SD card with images and videos of child pornography, including some with a man believed to be Gerstenecker engaging in sexual acts with a female who was under 13 years old.  The acts are believed to have occurred between October of 2021 and January of this year.

Under the plea deal, a 75-year prison sentence was recommended.  Under the charge, Gerstenecker faced a maximum of life in prison.  Sentencing was set for December.