A man caught in a sex sting during the 2016 Sturgis motorcycle rally is going on trial next week, only the third among dozens of arrestees to face the jury.
Andries Snyman of Isabel is scheduled for a four-day trial at the Rapid City federal courthouse starting Tuesday. He is charged with attempted enticement of a minor using the internet, an offense that carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison.
Authorities accuse Snyman, then 41, of trying to entice a 14-year-old boy to meet him for sexual activity in August of last year, according to Snyman’s criminal complaint. It says Snyman met the boy — the undercover persona of a sheriff’s deputy — through a mobile application and that they moved on to communicating via text messages.
Snyman was arrested at the parking lot of Rapid City’s Stevens High School, where he and the boy agreed to meet, the document states.
Snyman maintains his innocence. His position is that he never intended to engage in sexual activity with the boy, rather “he intended to meet with the 14-year-old boy to educate him on the dangers of encountering older men on gay dating applications and help him cope with the stress shared amongst the marginalized gay community,” according to a court order allowing the testimony of a defense expert on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.
The Sturgis rally sex stings, conducted every year since 2013, target people wanting to engage in sexual activity with minors. State and federal law enforcement agents have posed as either pimps or teenagers on ad sites or social media platforms, where they came into contact with the defendants. All the cases have been prosecuted in Rapid City federal court.
Of the 36 men arrested and charged, 22 have been convicted, one has died and the rest of the cases are still ongoing.
Only two of the defendants have gone to trial, according to federal prosecutors.
James Larive Jr., 46, and Jerry Golliher, 35, were both arrested in 2013 and found guilty of commercial sex trafficking the following year. Larive was sentenced to 10 years in prison; Golliher to 15 years.
Dec. 6, 2017: Changed Snyman's age at the time of his arrest from 42 to 41.