Man accused in Empire Mall sexual assault sentenced to prison

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in a bathroom at a Sioux Falls mall has been sentenced to two and a-half years behind bars.

Twenty-year-old Christopher Dale pleaded guilty to child abuse in July. Charges of second- and third-degree rape were dismissed. Prosecutors say Dale met the girl on Facebook. Documents say the 16-year-old girl has cognitive issues and functions at a fourth- or fifth-grade level.

A judge sentenced Dale this week to five years in the state penitentiary with two and a-half years suspended and credit for 54 days already served.

Dale was charged after the teen told her caregiver and a family member that he assaulted her at the Empire Mall in December of 2016.

AP-WF-11-08-18 1339GMT