Former baseball coach in Harrisburg, Canaries player to serve 50 years on child rape, pornography charges

Local News

LINCOLN COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Juan Thomas, Jr., a former Canaries baseball player and former coach in Harrisburg, was ordered to serve 50 years in prison on 1st degree child rape and child pornography charges.

Thomas was sentenced on March 12 to 65 years on first degree rape involving a minor child with 20 of those years suspended. He was also sentenced to 10 years for child pornography with five years suspended.

The case was prosecuted by Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman.  The investigation was conducted by agents from the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation following a cyber tip from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

Thomas had pleaded guilty to the charges in an earlier court appearance.

“The measure of the health of a society is how it protects its most vulnerable members,” Wollman said at Thomas’ sentencing, “we believe this sentence achieves the goals of the protection of our community from an individual who was targeting children and adequately punishes him as well,” according to a news release from Wollman’s office.

Thomas was a seasonal baseball coach for the Harrisburg Baseball Association from November 2017 to October 2019.

Thomas was a volunteer coach for Augustana baseball in 2014 and 2016.

He played for the Canaries in 2004 and 2005.

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