Beresford man faces 41 felony charges for rape and child pornography

South Dakota News

Mark Cornish | Union County Sheriff’s Office

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A disturbing case of rape and child pornography.

Mark Cornish, 30, of Beresford will make his first court appearance on Thursday in Union County. He faces 41 felony charges including rape and child pornography.

The investigation into Mark Cornish’s alleged sexual behaviors began less than a month ago when Beresford police received information from an employee at the Family Dollar store.

According to court papers, that employee saw Mark Cornish and a 13-year-old girl in the store and the two seemed to be ‘flirtatious’ and saw Cornish possibly ‘slapping the girl on her buttocks.’

After reviewing surveillance video from the Family Dollar store, police talked to the girl’s parents and got permission to interview her.

She told investigators she had been babysitting Cornish’s children and got to know him.

The girl told police she had kissed, hugged and cuddled with Cornish at his trailer house where he lived with his fiance and two children.

She also admitted to sending a nude photo to Cornish and he sent her pictures of his penis.

Based on that information police obtained a search warrant and confiscated Cornish’s laptop and cell phone.

With help from the Division of Criminal Investigation, authorities got another search warrant to unseal those electronic devices and found numerous pictures and videos of child pornography; some of the kids, both boys and girls, were as young as four years old.

Cornish remains in jail with no bond.

This isn’t the first time Cornish has been accused of sexually abusing children.

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In 2018, authorities in Georgia arrested him for child molestation, but according to court papers, those charges were later dropped.

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