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A Rapid City man was convicted by a jury Friday of raping a woman who couldn’t give consent as a result of early-onset dementia.

Roger Jackson, 70, was found guilty of third-degree rape committed against a 56-year-old woman two years ago. He faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing Sept. 27.

Authorities said Jackson befriended the victim while she was living at a Rapid City retirement home where he volunteered to play music. He visited her after she moved to a nursing home, and one night in November 2016 took her out of the facility for two hours.

After she came back that night, nursing home staff found fluid with blood in the woman’s diaper, said the lead prosecutor, state Assistant Attorney General Scott Roetzel.

Jackson’s lawyers asserted that the woman consented to sex and that she had the ability to do so. Prosecuting attorneys argued she wasn’t legally able to give consent because of mental incapacity. The woman has been diagnosed with Benson’s syndrome, a degenerative neurological syndrome.

Around 3 p.m. Friday, a Pennington County jury returned a guilty verdict, four hours after the case was handed to them, 

“I’m thrilled to death,” the victim’s husband told the Journal after the announcement. “We wanted to make sure that he doesn’t do this to somebody else.”

His wife wasn’t even aware of the trial but the family felt obligated to prevent it from happening again, he said. The victim’s name is being withheld because she is the victim of a sex crime.

Jackson is set to be sentenced Sept. 27 by Circuit Judge Jane Wipf Pfeifle. He is out of jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond.

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Contact Tiffany Tan at tiffany.tan@rapidcityjournal.com.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal from February 2016 to July 2018. Contact her on Facebook or Twitter @tiffgtan.