UPDATE: Hurkes pleads not guilty to sex crime charges

January 31, 2023
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–A Watertown man facing dozens of felony-level sex crimes was arraigned in Codington County District Court today.

Attorney Teree Nesvold entered not guilty pleas on behalf of 44 year-old Ted Jeffrey (T.J.) Hurkes.

The charges against Hurkes include First Degree Rape, Sexual Contact with a Child less than 16, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Possession of Child Pornography and Manufacturing of Child Pornography.

A total of 41 counts are spelled out in a Grand Jury indictment dated January 23rd. It indicates the alleged crimes happened on or about the dates of October 2, 2022, November 12, 2022, and January 12, 2023.

The Grand Jury handed down the indictment after hearing witness testimony from Watertown police officers Shane Hardie, Jeremy Bjerke and Trevor Barthel.

Judge Bob Pesall accepted Hurkes’s not guilty pleas and set his trial for April 27th at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Carmen Means.

Hurkes was arrested by Watertown police on January 13th following an investigation that also included the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security.

His arrest coincided with a search warrant executed at his home in the 1100-block of 17th Street Northeast in Watertown, where additional evidence was secured.

Hurkes is being held in the Codington County Detention Center on $100,000 cash only bond.