Sex offender brought on to provide spiritual services

2013-06-27T06:22:00Z 2013-06-27T07:34:57Z Sex offender brought on to provide spiritual servicesJoe O'Sullivan Journal staff Rapid City Journal
June 27, 2013 6:22 am  • 

A new drug and alcohol addiction counseling agency in Rapid City has brought on a convicted sex offender to manage its spiritual programs, the Journal has learned.

Promotional materials for "A New Day Recovery Services" list William Good Voice Elk Jr. as the “spiritual program manager” who would provide talking circles, spiritual mentoring and sweat lodge experiences for people with substance abuse problems as part of their treatment. The flyers from A New Day also include a reference to future counseling services for adolescents.

Good Voice Elk, 45, a registered sex offender with two sex-related convictions on his record, served prison time on 1996 charges that he had sex with an under-aged girl.

He was also convicted in 2008 for having sex with a 26-year-old woman who was incapacitated, federal records show.

A New Day, with offices listed at 2040 West Main St., is a service provider for the Oglala Lakota tribe, and provides addiction counseling services free of cost for Native Americans. The agency has just opened and it is unclear if clients have been treated yet.

Cindy Fleming, founder of A New Day, told the Journal in a phone call this week that Good Voice Elk is a volunteer. Fleming said she was aware of his convictions and added that: "I'm the clinical person here, he doesn't see my clients."

On the same call, Fleming then handed the phone to Good Voice Elk, who became angry.

"So, now you're trying to play judge, prosecutor and God, huh?" Good Voice Elk said. He later defended his ability to be a spiritual counselor.

"Spirituality has nothing to do with being a registered offender," he said.

When informed by the Journal of Good Voice Elk's status as a registered sex offender, a representative of the Oglala Lakota tribe said she was not aware of his status or involvement with A New Day.

Leslie Mesteth, project director for the Oglala Lakota Tribe's Access to Recovery program, said that Good Voice Elk's name does not appear in A New Day's application paperwork.

"(Fleming) said in an email that she had a spiritual adviser coming on board, and they needed help getting a drum" for a pow wow, Mesteth said. But, "I'm not even familiar with his name."

She said that the tribe would not fund any spiritual programs run by Good Voice Elk.

"I can't have convicted sex offenders providing services, no," Mesteth said.

Mesteth confirmed that the tribe has not funded any spiritual services that may have been provided so far by Good Voice Elk, though it has reimbursed A New Day for clinical services not related to him.

To be considered a service provider for the tribe, applicants must disclose whether they've been convicted of a felony, according to Mesteth. Having a felony conviction that involves the harm of another person would disqualify an applicant, she said. Mesteth said the tribe received an application only from Fleming.

Fleming "needs to put measures in place" to check the backgrounds of those she works with, Mesteth said.

Federal prosecutors indicted Good Voice Elk in 1998 for rape and incest after he allegedly sexually assaulted his niece. Good Voice Elk pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual abuse and was sentenced in June 1999 to just under six years in prison. He was released in February 2004, according to federal prison records.

In July 2008, Good Voice Elk was arrested again and charged with, among other things, two counts of rape. He pleaded guilty to sexual contact with someone incapable of consent and served a little more than two years in prison on a sentence of five years, with another five years suspended.

A representative of the state Department of Corrections confirmed that Good Voice Elk is still under parole supervision.

Calls and emails made late Wednesday afternoon to Fleming — after the Journal informed the tribe of Good Voice Elk's status — were not returned.

Fleming is a certified counselor in good standing with the state Certification Board for Alcohol and Drug Professionals.

Contact Joe O'Sullivan at 394-8414 or joe.osullivan@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(23) Comments

  1. native10
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    native10 - July 02, 2013 12:06 pm
    I am in agreement,Joe,you need to do a follow up with other agency's having employees who are registered and an employee of various agency's. Try the Cornerstone for example,,
  2. smut prevention
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    smut prevention - July 01, 2013 7:47 pm
    Ok people, if you are going to punish one agency for giving someone a chance then you should also look at other agencies who have had a sex offender work with them for years; not just a month or less.
  3. whosthatbrown
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    whosthatbrown - June 28, 2013 4:02 pm
    He sexually assaulted his niece and only served 6 years in prison...you obviously don't understand how psychologically damaging molestation is, especially to a young child. That's something SHE will have to live with for the rest of her life, yet he spent 6 years behind bars and wasn't even rehabilitated because he went on to rape a woman who was incapacitated. This man has had his second chance already. He shouldn't be allowed to counsel anyone or offer any spiritual guidance when his soul is spiritually toxic.
  4. Report Abuse
    - June 28, 2013 12:37 pm
    I have similar thoughts.

    It says in the article that future offerings will include youth programs. This would set off huge red flags with any of the youth groups I've had dealings with in the past.
  5. adminnn
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    adminnn - June 28, 2013 11:49 am
    "served his time?"...the ladies he sexually abused will serve "time" for the rest of their lives...so tell me how does that compare to the few years he served in prison?...I worked in the Chemical Dependency field for 20 years as a License Counselor and the majority of women I seen were sexually abused....a "convicted traditional spiritual person" should not be allowed to provide any type of services to young and/or elders ladies. A second chance? for what? to sexually abuse someone again?...for a third time!!!!!! I don't see anything pathetic that people hold the word "sex offender" against a person. He will always be a sexual offender...what is pathetic is that someone wants to hire him to "provide spiritual services" to others which more than likely includes females....People should also check out the federal laws about sexual offenders and their criteria on hiring when it involves places where they received federal funds. Prayers go out to the ladies whom he abused!!!!
  6. larryg
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    larryg - June 28, 2013 11:07 am
    i am sure the people sticking up for this guy would have no problem with him baby sitting their kids!
  7. BeenThere
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    BeenThere - June 28, 2013 4:44 am
    Did you see where he's had a second chance and re-offended? How many second chances not to force himself on women does he get?
    "Good Voice Elk, 45, a registered sex offender with two sex-related convictions on his record, served prison time on 1996 charges that he had sex with an under-aged girl.

    He was also convicted in 2008 for having sex with a 26-year-old woman who was incapacitated, federal records show."
  8. sdimport
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    sdimport - June 27, 2013 11:17 pm
    I agree that his offender status has nothing to do with his spirituality. It's not for me to judge. But there's a reason that sex offenders are required to register where they live. Everyone makes mistakes, but after his second conviction, it would appear to be a pattern. If sex offenders didn't have such a high rate of recidivism, they could be put back into society without anybody knowing where they are. But he shouldn't be in a position of any kind that would allow him contact with children. All spirituality should include protecting children.
  9. nativewiyan
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    nativewiyan - June 27, 2013 10:51 pm
    On top of that most people that have an addiction problem are victims of some kind of sexual abuse. Can you imagine how they will feel going to a place to get help w/ someone working there that is a registered sex offender. I have a problem w/ you telling people they should leave south dakota if they have a problem w/ sex offenders.your subjecting them to being victims again. I pray that your 12 year old daughter never gets raped or sexual abused, cause you will see the irony it cases her and how it will affect her life. She may never find happiness..
  10. nativewiyan
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    nativewiyan - June 27, 2013 10:47 pm
    There is a big difference when it comes to a shoplifter, someone w/ a dui verses some pedophile .. the person that is a sex offender crossed the line when he committed a sexual act onto a minor or someone who is unwilling. That is hurting someone. Coming from me, a mother to 2 daughters and a son. I don't care what your trying to imply, people in their right mind knows it is just wrong to hire someone to work at a treatment facility or a place that is suppose to help people, especially people that are coming in to talk about their problems. That can be a major set back on the client. I was sexual abused when I was a little girl and to this day it creeps me out when I think of sex offenders because they have more than one victim and they will prob continue it the rest of their life. So I do have a issue w/ this guy working there. I can't even imagine what a person was thinking when they hired him on.
  11. Rowdy
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    Rowdy - June 27, 2013 10:11 pm
    Anyone convicted of a sex crime - TWICE no less - should not be in a position to counsel patients, spiritually or otherwise.
  12. christiangirl
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    christiangirl - June 27, 2013 8:59 pm
    if people want to hold a persons past and every conviction a persons been charged with against them for their whole life, then people who have DUI 's shouldn't be allowed to walk into anywhere that sells alcohol, and if you've ever been caught shop lifting then you should never go to any store again....YEAH RIGHT!!!!! Sex offenders payed for their crime and also served their time yet people think they should keep paying the rest of their lives!! Let them live a normal life as everybody else does after they committed a crime. South Dakota has the highest sex offender rate per capita. So if your so worried about the offenders then go move to a different state! This is coming from a mother with a 12 year old daughter, get over it and stop thinking people should pay for their crimes the rest of their lives! Its really pathetic that people hold the word "sex offender" against a person forever!
  13. smut prevention
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    smut prevention - June 27, 2013 8:24 pm
    We see that you won't let people speak when it makes you look bad. How about the truth Joe. You should be ashamed of yourself.
  14. coffeehead
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    coffeehead - June 27, 2013 7:17 pm
    What a joke!
  15. smut prevention
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    smut prevention - June 27, 2013 6:04 pm
    Thanks for being human....
  16. smut prevention
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    smut prevention - June 27, 2013 6:04 pm
    Anyone on parole is subject to random drug testing. BGVE stated recently that he was still on paper..... Anyone "on paper" is subject to random drug testing.
  17. Joe O'Sullivan Staff
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    Joe O'Sullivan - June 27, 2013 4:37 pm
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, guys.
  18. Freedome
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    Freedome - June 27, 2013 3:34 pm
    Many sex offenders offend again. Do they drug test employees at these place like most businesses do today. Is the tax payer paying his paycheck.
  19. sdrsol
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    sdrsol - June 27, 2013 1:32 pm
    Everyone deserves a second chance and people can and do change. He has served his time and people should not "judge" one's character based on a mistake or poor choice made years prior. May the Lord guide him and others who place themselves in a position to judge.
  20. mzreshaw4578
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    mzreshaw4578 - June 27, 2013 1:05 pm
    Well I see this as just a setback, for A New Day Recovery!!! Yes Cindy will have to background checks on whoever she may hire, but that does not label the program. As a client I do feel comfortable there, and from what I have seen Good Voice Elk has not had any contact with the clients other than just speaking like any other person in the group. I do know that I have just worked with Lynette and Cindy and I do feel comfortable with the services I receive.
  21. nukephd
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    nukephd - June 27, 2013 11:53 am
    A sex offender to mentor others? That's always proven to be a wise choice. (sarc)
  22. wiyanlilawaste
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    wiyanlilawaste - June 27, 2013 10:53 am
    He himself should know that as a Lakota and with his history as a sex offender, he shouldn't be working in that capacity.
  23. im4mary
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    im4mary - June 27, 2013 9:37 am
    Wow, that's scraping the bottom of the barrel. Couldn't they have found someone who is not spiritually inept to be a Spiritual Counselor?
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