Noem Fires Penitentiary Warden Day After Suspending Him Over Sexual Harassment Complaint

Darin Young

    A day after putting the warden of the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls on paid leave over a sexual harassment complaint, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem fired him.

Out along with Darin Young is deputy warden Jennifer Dreiske, who had not been mentioned when Noem suspended Young and Corrections Secretary Mike Leidholt on Wednesday over the anonymous complaint. 

     The governor now says she’s also suspended Stefany Bawek, director of the prison work program called Pheasantland Industries

     The complaint alleges that supervising corrections officers regularly sexually harassed their fellow employees and that attempts to report harassment were ignored. 

     The complaint also says schedules at the prison were adjusted so the harassers could “work in the same vicinities as their interest/victims” and that those who didn’t give in were made to “suffer by being placed in less desirable posts.” 

      It further alleges that employee morale was low, corrections officers don’t have body armor that’s “up to standards,” promotions are based on personal connections, and wages aren’t competitive. 

      The SD State Employees Organization, the union that represents state workers, has said there have been widespread complaints of low morale at the prison since March. 

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