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Dickinson man sentenced to 15 years for sex crimes with 12-year-old victim

Chon Tackett of Dickinson was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 15 years suspended, for three Class AA felony counts of gross sexual imposition.

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Chon E. Tackett (Contributed / Southwest MultiCounty Correction Center)

After two years of hearings and court proceedings, on Monday, Dec. 13, Southwest District Court Judge James Gion sentenced Chon Tackett, of Dickinson, to 30 years in prison with 15 years suspended. As part of the sentencing, Tackett will also be required to serve 10 years of supervised probation following his release. The 39-year-old was immediately remanded to the custody of the North Dakota State Penitentiary and removed from the court by the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

Stark County State’s Attorney Amanda Engelstad said she argued for 30 years in prison with 10 years suspended, while Tackett's defense argued for 20 years with 13 suspended.

Tackett was arrested Dec. 9, 2019 , and charged with four counts of gross sexual imposition and terrorizing after Dickinson Police detectives received a complaint that he had forced oral and vaginal sex onto a 12-year-old female victim. According to the police report, Tackett also compelled the victim to engage in the sexual acts "by force or by threat of imminent death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping" and was charged with terrorizing after he "threatened the victim and her family's safety." The acts took place in Stark County in October of 2019, the report read.

Only days before the case was scheduled to take place in July, Tackett entered an Alford plea — an acknowledgement by the defendant that there was sufficient facts and evidence which would allow a jury to find that he was guilty of the crimes charged. From there, the State dropped one count of the gross sexual imposition and the charge of terrorizing, leaving three Class AA Felony counts of gross sexual imposition for the courts to contend with during sentencing five months later.

Upon release from prison, Tackett will be required to register as sex offender. In his prison sentence, he will receive credit for the approximately two years he spent at the Southwest Multi-County Correctional Center since his arrest in late 2019.

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“The subject of a mandatory minimum sentence wasn’t addressed yesterday, but the North Dakota Century Code does state that for AA (felony gross sexual imposition) there is a five-year mandatory minimum,” Engelstad said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Dickinson Press.

The case took longer than usual as there were delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Engelstad said, adding that she’s relieved it’s finally come to a close.

“It’s tough on victims when cases drag out like that,” she said. “It was a relief, after two years, that the case was actually able to be resolved for the victim and her family.”

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Chon Tackett was sentenced at the Stark County District Courthouse on Monday, Dec. 13. (Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press)

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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