SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A former Sioux Falls middle school teacher accused of carrying on relationships with two 13-year-old students has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including more than two dozen counts of fourth-degree rape.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A former Sioux Falls middle school teacher accused of carrying on relationships with two 13-year-old students has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including more than two dozen counts of fourth-degree rape.
Prosecutors allege that Nicolas Lee Jastorff, 26, pitted the two girls against each other while maintaining relationships with the pair for about nine months before his arrest earlier this month, the Argus Leader reported Wednesday.
Jastorff pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 25 counts of fourth-degree rape, two counts of solicitation of a minor and one count of sexual contact in Minnehaha County. He also faces 10 counts of fourth-degree rape in neighboring Lincoln County.
Under South Dakota law, a person can be charged with fourth-degree rape for sexual contact with someone between the ages of 13 and 16 if that person is three years older than the victim.
Judges set Jastorff's bond at $500,000 cash in Minnehaha County and $1 million in Lincoln County. He remained jailed Wednesday. Jastorff's parents, who live in Spearfish, about 400 miles away, offered $50,000 cash for their son's release on several conditions into their custody, but Minnehaha County Judge Robin Houwman refused the offer.
"These charges have provoked a certain reaction in a lot of people," said Mike Butler, Jastorff's attorney. "Nonetheless, he's entitled to a fair bond."
Jastorff was a special education teacher and seventh-grade football coach at Patrick Henry Middle School until he lost his job in November. According to court documents, a student told a school resource officer about suicidal text messages Jastorff had sent to another student.
Authorities later found explicit text messages sent between Jastorff and the two girls, who were not special education students.
Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said Jastorff played the two friends against each other, telling both he loved them and not to disclose details to authorities. McGowan said both girls could be "confused about their feelings for him."
"These girls, as well as their families, deserve to feel secure that he won't try to contact them," McGowan said, according to the Argus Leader.
Jastorff's next court appearance is set for Feb. 11.