MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) — Six Mitchell Legion baseball players are facing rape charges. Three juveniles are also accused in the case. The American Legion is responding by saying quote, “The allegations are very disturbing and are not in keeping with the traditions and the core purposes of American Legion Baseball.”

According to court papers, the incidents that brought on the charges involved two juveniles and happened in Rapid City while the team was playing in a tournament there.

The Pennington County State’s Attorney who is prosecuting the case tells KELOLAND News this was not a hazing or some sort of initiation. She characterizes the charges as forcible sexual assault.

“I also think it’s very important for people to understand that I do not think that this was an isolated incident within the Mitchell Legion baseball team. I do believe that this was a culture of repeated behavior that had been going on for possibly years,” Pennington County State’s Attorney Laura Roetzel said.

Friday in Mitchell, we talked with several people who said they don’t know enough to comment on camera. The people who follow the program are in shock and trying to process what’s happened.

“We really want to make sure that the, if these things happened and they’re proven to be true, which is absolutely my burden, that the right consequences come out of this, and so I’m really hoping that this is a moment in time where the truth can come out across the Mitchell community. Other victims can come forward, there’s a real possibility that named defendants have been victims of this past conduct. The time is now for it to end, quite frankly,” Roetzel said.

Roetzel says it’s possible some adults close to the baseball program knew of the alleged crimes. If that’s true, they could also face charges in Davison County. Roetzel says she’s reached out to the Davison County State’s Attorney to offer to take over the case to avoid any conflict of interest. Pennington County investigators and attorneys would take the lead on the investigation.

“They would travel to Mitchell and handle those cases there. I think there’s a real possibility that that will happen. If it does happen, I want it to happen very soon. I think it’s really important for everyone that this just gets out in the open, everything that’s going to be charged, be charged, so that all the rumor and the innuendo can stop, the Mitchell community and the state can know and understand what this is all about, and we can start moving forward,” said Roetzel.

Davison County States Attorney Jim Miskimins says he is waiting for information from Pennington County before making a decision. While state DCI agents helped investigate the case, Attorney General Marty Jackley indicated the prosecution of the case would be left up to Pennington County.

The Mitchell Baseball Association put out this statement. Jason Christensen, the president of the association, says in part, “It is hoped that the alleged actions by a few does not reflect negatively on the entire Mitchell Baseball Program. The Board will trust the legal process and will have no further comment on the legal proceedings.”