SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A former attorney accused of rape is out on bond Wednesday after spending the previous night in the Minnehaha County Jail. A judge had set bond at $10,000 cash or surety.
Joseph Smyrak appeared in court Wednesday morning where a judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf. Smyrak is charged with second-degree rape, which means the alleged crime involved force or threats.
Smyrak denied the charge in a phone call with KELOLAND’s Dan Santella Wednesday afternoon, denying the alleged rape “wholeheartedly.” He also said he “barely knew” the alleged victim. But this month, a grand jury decided there’s enough evidence to charge him with the crime.
Court documents filed in January say the alleged crime that landed Smyrak in jail happened in July 2020. According to the Sioux Falls Police Department, the alleged victim went to the hospital where she had a sexual assault kit completed but the incident wasn’t reported until nine months later in April 2021. Police say DNA evidence was used in the investigation.
Smyrak’s attorney pointed out on Wednesday that Smyrak’s criminal history doesn’t have any similar offenses. The attorney told the judge that while Smyrak has a criminal history, it’s “completely different” than what brought him to court on Wednesday. When asking the judge to drop his bond, Smyrak’s attorney said police contacted him more than a year ago about the investigation, and Smyrak hasn’t left Sioux Falls.
According to the State Bar of South Dakota, Smyrak was once a member of the state bar but is no longer one. His attorney also mentioned he has a job as a trust officer and is engaged.
In the last eleven years, at least five women requested protection orders against him. Among their claims are that after breaking up with Smyrak, they said he wouldn’t stop contacting them. One claimed he continued going into her home; another said he harassed her at work. In another case, a woman said she spotted him outside her home moments before a rock shattered her window.
Despite the ongoing investigation, he was willing to do an interview in December when KELOLAND News ran into him by chance at Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls.
“I bought a home this year, and I’ve been shoveling more snow than I know what to do with but it’s great for out here, so we’re really excited about it,” Smyrak said in December.