SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Current reports on an investigation into possible possession of child pornography by South Dakota billionaire and philanthropist, T. Denny Sanford, do not meet the high editorial standards of KELOLAND News. We typically would not report this kind of activity without more substantial proof or until any charges were filed.
However, now that Sanford Health is acknowledging the investigation to all of its employees and former South Dakota U.S. Attorney and Attorney General, Marty Jackley, confirms he represents Mr. Sanford to KELOLAND News, we have made the decision to proceed with the following report.
A national online investigative journalism website, ProPublica, is reporting that billionaire T. Denny Sanford was subject of a child pornography investigation. For the past month, KELOLAND News has followed leads on this story. We have confirmed from a confidential source that there were two search warrants issued in state court in the case, but they were sealed, so the information they contained was not made public.
Currently, there are no charges filed against the South Dakota philanthropist.
ProPublica is reporting that the case has been referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a letter obtained by KELOLAND Investigates to all Sanford Health Employees, Kelby Krabbenhoft, President and CEO writes:
“Some of you may have already learned through a recent media report of an investigation related to Denny Sanford, a long-time donor to Sanford Health and many other non-profit organizations across the country. Like you, I’m deeply concerned about these reports. There’s nothing more sacred than the innocence of children, and our dedication to their care remains at the very core of who we are as a family.”
Krabbenhoft goes on to say, “As you hear of this news, I want you to know that this matter does not involve our health system and we have not been contacted by law enforcement.”
The 84-year-old is being represented by former South Dakota U.S Attorney and State Attorney General, Marty Jackley. Jackley released the following statement to KELOLAND news:
Although we know very little about any state or federal inquiry relating to Mr. Sanford, we do know those authorities responsible for investigating allegations obviously did not find information or evidence that supported or resulted in criminal charges.Marty Jackley
Sanford started First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard in South Dakota and has given more than $1 billion to health care systems that bear his name, including Sanford Health in Sioux Falls and Sanford Burnham in San Diego. Sanford owns residences in California, South Dakota and Arizona. He signed a pledge, along with other famous billionaires, such as Bill Gates, to “die broke.”
Read the full letter sent to all Sanford Health employees:
Some of you may have already learned through a recent media report of an investigation related to Denny Sanford, a long-time donor to Sanford Health and many other non-profit organizations across the country.
Like you, I’m deeply concerned about these reports. There’s nothing more sacred than the innocence of children, and our dedication to their care remains at the very core of who we are as a family.
As you hear of this news, I want you to know that this matter does not involve our health system and we have not been contacted by law enforcement.
These reports are unsettling and we take this matter extremely seriously. Our focus, however, remains on you — our Sanford family — as well as our patients, residents and the communities we serve. I’m grateful for your continued dedication to our important work of health and healing.
I’m incredibly proud of the way each one of you shows up every day. You’ve all been through so much lately, and I’m honored to work alongside so many extraordinary people. We will continue to show up, we will always give our best, and we will forever meet adversity with strength and courage.
Thanks for everything you do.