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Former tribal officer sentenced for sexually abusing inmate in South Dakota

RAPID CITY, S.D. — In 2016, a woman got into a van so a corrections officer with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe could take her to the hospital and then return her to jail.

Once she was treated, the officer brought her back — but not before sexually abusing her inside the van.

The former officer, Ryun Bowker, a 27-year-old from Ridgeview, was sentenced Tuesday, March 5, in federal court for the sexual abuse. He received two years in prison, the maximum punishment for abusive sexual contact, and will have to register as a sex offender.

After Bowker pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact, his original charge of aggravated sexual abuse — which carries a punishment of up to life in prison — was dropped. His lawyer agreed to ask for the maximum two-year prison stay and not argue for any mitigating factors that could have caused the judge to order a shorter sentence.

Bowker, wearing his uniform and driving a law enforcement van, took the woman to the hospital in Eagle Butte on March 17, 2016, so she could be treated for a concussion, according to a factual basis document he signed. Once she was treated, Bowker let her sit in the front seat without handcuffs on.

He then took her to his sister's house, where they smoked cigarettes inside the van, the document says. As they were driving back to the jail, Bowker told the woman that she should return to the back seat. As she was changing seats, Bowker attacked her from behind, pinned her down and pulled down her pants. He then touched her genitalia without her consent.

Bowker told the woman that he hoped she wouldn't tell anyone what happened, but she reported the incident the next day, the document says.