Ex-teacher given 100 years for sexually assaulting students

Posted at 5:08 PM, June 22, 2021 and last updated 7:20 PM, May 12, 2023

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A former elementary school teacher in Sioux Falls has been sentenced to 100 years in prison for sexually assaulting two students.

Thomas Richard Strong, 72, of Sioux Falls, was earlier found guilty of four counts of rape and one count of sexual contact with a child under 16.

He was sentenced last week by Judge Jerome Eckrich in Minnehaha County to 25 years in prison on each count of rape to run consecutively to each other and 10 years on the sexual contact count to run concurrently.

An investigation began in May 2019 when concerns were raised about inappropriate contact with two students. The jury heard testimony from two victims, now ages 8 and 10, about the crimes the defendant committed against them, the Argus Leader reported.

Strong is currently being held in a secure annex adjacent to the South Dakota State Penitentiary, according to the South Dakota Department of Corrections.