SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – A former attorney accused of raping a girl was released on bail Wednesday after spending the previous night in the Minnehaha jail. $10,000 in cash has been set by the judge or a surety.
Joseph Smyrak appeared in court Wednesday morning where the judge entered a not guilty plea. Smyrak is charged with second-degree rape, meaning the alleged crime involves coercion or threats.
Smyrak denied the accusation in a phone call with KELOLAND’s Dan Santella on Wednesday afternoon, denying the alleged affair “wholeheartedly”. He also said he “barely knew” the alleged victim. But this month the grand jury made a decision that there was enough evidence to charge him with the crime.
Court records filed in January state that the crime for which Smyrak is accused in the jail occurred in July 2020. According to the Sioux Falls Police Department, the accused went at the hospital where he made a sexual assault report but did not report the incident until nine months later in April 2021. Police said DNA evidence was used in the investigation.
Smyrak’s attorney said Wednesday that Smyrak’s criminal history does not contain any such crimes. The attorney told the judge that while Smyrak has a history, it is “very different” than the one that brought him to court Wednesday. When the judge was asked to set his bond, Smyrak’s attorney said he had been contacted by police more than a year ago about the murder. investigation, and Smyrak never left Sioux Falls.
According to the State Bar of South Dakota, Smyrak was a former state attorney but no longer is. His lawyer also said that he has a job as a trustee and is engaged.
In the past eleven years, at least five women have requested protective orders against him. Among their claims is that after breaking up with Smyrak, they said he would not stop contacting them. One said he continued to go to his house; another said he bothered her at work. In another case, a woman said she saw him outside her house a few minutes before a rock smashed her window.
Despite the ongoing investigation, he was willing to do an interview in December when KELOLAND News unexpectedly invited him to the Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls.
“I bought a house this year, and I’ve been shoveling more snow than I know how to do with it but it’s nice for here, so we’re really happy with it,” he said. of Smyrak in December.