A Yankton man was sentenced to twenty years in prison Monday morning after being convicted of child rape.
31-year-old Matthew Carter was sentenced by Circuit Judge Cheryle Gering to forty-five years in prison with twenty-five years suspended following a jury trial in February. The twelve member Yankton County jury unanimously found Carter guilty of child rape in the first degree.
According to court documents, Carter had sexual contact with a 5-year-old female in late 2020. Seizure of a cell phone showed numerous searches that were related to sexual acts performed by the defendant.
During sentencing and throughout the entire trial, Carter maintained his innocence. Carter stated that he was found guilty of a heinous crime that he did not commit. He added that “this conviction was caused by an overzealous former Yankton Police Detective-Joseph Erickson.” Carter quoted the bible several times throughout his sentencing.
In addition to the twenty-year prison sentence, Judge Gering ordered Carter to pay court costs, victim counseling services, and attend sex offender treatment. Carter indicated during sentencing that he will be appealing his conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
In late January, Carter was also found guilty of child porn possession by a federal grand jury. A sentencing date on that case has not been set. While Carter was in the Yankton County Jail following the child rape arrest in January of 2021, he called his dad and directed him to retrieve some property that Carter hid above the ceiling tile in his bathroom. An officer listening to the jail call went to Carter’s residence and found a computer hard drive above the ceiling tile. Forensic examination of the hard drive revealed sixty video files containing child pornography.