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Jasper man indicted by grand jury in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Jasper man accused of traveling across a state line to meet a 12-year-old girl for sexual conduct has now been indicted by a grand jury in U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.

Ryan Lee Balster, 22, of Jasper, is now charged federally with travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted enticement of a minor using the Internet and attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor.

Balster was arrested May 1 when he arrived at Dunham Park in Sioux Falls to meet who he thought was a 12-year-old girl. In reality, he had been chatting online with an undercover officer (UC) from the Sioux Falls Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit.

During the chat on April 30, he asked the UC questions of a sexual nature and used a webcam that allowed the UC to view him in real-time video. He described what kind of car he would be driving and what he would be wearing.

The following day, he drove to Sioux Falls to meet the girl, but instead was arrested by Sioux Falls police officers.

He was initially charged with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, but the two additional charges were added later.

The indictment documents state Balster, also known as ryan_balster44, knowingly traveled to meet a minor, used the Internet to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity and used the Internet to transfer or attempt to transfer obscene matter to a minor.

An order fixing dates was filed Tuesday, which states all discovery motions for the defendant must be filed before today, while opposing counsel must respond before May 13. All other motions by the defendant must be filed no later than May 20, with opposing counsel responding by May 27.

June 5 is set as the deadline for submission of any proposed plea agreement, and a jury trial is set to begin July 1 in Sioux Falls. The order states the dates may be modified if good cause is shown.

Documents from the initial hearing last week state it is anticipated a detention hearing will be reconvened upon a mental evaluation being conducted on Balster to address the court's concerns regarding his mental status.

Balster, who is developmentally challenged, was raised in the Slayton area and attended the Murray County Central school district.