CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON APRIL 29, 2019
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
PENNINGTON COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE JANE WIPF
LEWIS Rapid City, South Dakota Pro Se Petitioner.
KIRSTEN K. AASEN Rapid City, South Dakota PATRICIA A. MEYERS
Rapid City, South Dakota Attorneys for Respondent and
Daniel Lewis, on behalf of his minor daughter E.L., sought a
protection order against Christopher Garrigan after learning
that he was a registered sex offender. At the time the
petition was filed, Garrigan was in a romantic relationship
with Daniel's ex-wife, Theresa. Daniel also requested his
sons B.L. and L.L. be included as additional protected
persons in the protection order. The circuit court entered a
protection order against Garrigan on August 23, 2018. The
order prohibited Garrigan from coming within a distance of
100 yards of the children. Garrigan appeals the stalking
order, which expired by its own terms after six months. We
dismiss as moot.
and Procedural History
Daniel and Theresa had three children during their marriage;
E.L., B.L., and L.L. Theresa commenced a divorce against
Daniel in March 2016. While the divorce was pending, custody
of the children alternated weekly between Daniel and Theresa.
In April 2018, Theresa and Garrigan began a relationship.
Daniel learned of the relationship from his children. The
children told Daniel that Garrigan would come to
Theresa's house after she got home from work, would stay
after they went to bed, and accompanied Theresa and the kids
on road trips.
The divorce was finalized in July 2018. The parties agreed to
continue the shared custody arrangement. About the same time
the divorce was concluded, Daniel learned that Garrigan was
previously convicted of felony sexual contact with his own
minor daughter. Daniel informed Theresa of his discovery by
text message and asked that Theresa not allow Garrigan to be
around their children. Theresa did not respond to the text
The next day, Daniel filed a petition and affidavit for a
protection order on behalf of his children against Garrigan.
The petition claimed stalking against Garrigan because of his
alleged contact with the children as a convicted child sex
offender. The affidavit in support of the petition alleged
that on one occasion when the children were dropped off
following their time with Theresa, E.L. ran to Daniel crying
and asked to never go back to Theresa's house, but she
did not explain why she was upset. The affidavit also alleged
the children's therapist, Tom Bosworth, was concerned
because E.L.'s "emotional and mental states [put her
in] high risk of being sexualy [sic] assaulted by a child
predator." Daniel indicated in the petition that he had
no knowledge of Garrigan harming the children but wanted the
order to ensure his children were safe.
A hearing on the petition was held on August 23, 2018. Daniel
appeared pro se and testified along with Bosworth. Dr. Dewey
Ertz, a therapist specializing in sex offender treatment,
also testified. Garrigan did not testify. Daniel admitted
that he had not personally seen Garrigan around the children
and had no direct knowledge of Garrigan's contact with
the children. Bosworth expressed general concerns about
the children being around a registered sex offender, but
admitted his concerns were not based on any personal
knowledge of Garrigan's case or situation. Bosworth
testified that he had raised his concerns to Theresa and
explained, "[d]uring that conversation [Theresa] related
to me that [Garrigan], when he was intoxicated, sexually
offended his daughter by lifting her shirt up and touching
her breasts. And it was a one-time incident."
Dr. Ertz testified that Garrigan was classified as a
"low-level risk" re-offender since he had been
compliant with his parole plan. Dr. Ertz also testified that
he met with Garrigan and Theresa to counsel their
relationship and discuss Garrigan's potential involvement
with Theresa's children. At the conclusion of Dr.
Ertz's testimony, the court briefly questioned him:
THE COURT: So, Dr. Ertz, was that your understanding of what
Mr. Garrigan was convicted of? Of lifting up the blouse --
shirt of his ...