Minnehaha County State's Attorney stepping down

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Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan is stepping down following public scrutiny over his conduct on the job.

McGowan confirmed his resignation this afternoon to KSFY News via email.

The Minnehaha County Commission is set to consider McGowan's resignation in its meeting Tuesday morning. If accepted, that resignation will go into effect Friday.

In September, Gov. Kristi Noem ordered the State's Attorney General to look into reports of McGowan's extended absence from work during that summer.

That investigation pointed to possible alcohol abuse, however, it did not find enough evidence to charge McGowan.

Now, McGowan says he's had enough.

In an email to KSFY News confirming his resignation, McGowan states he had knee replacement surgery in October and developed a blood clot, which required urgent surgery on Nov. 1. He blames the condition on returning to work too soon after the initial surgery.

McGowan also writes, "Negative print media has been too much of a distraction to continue my responsibilities as State's Attorney."

"I had a knee replacement surgery on October 18th. I developed a blood clot/hematoma which required an urgent surgery on November 1st. This condition was likely the result of me returning to work too soon after the initial replacement surgery. In fact, I went to Pierre for a five hour meeting just four days after the knee replacement. I was placed on weeks of bed rest in order to save my knee joint and keep my leg. Despite everything I’ve been through, the print media has been relentless and continues to harm me and my family.

Contrary to print media reports, I just obtained a life sentence on a child murderer on May 30th of this year. I’ve worked numerous weekends on homicide cases since then. The negative print media has been too much of a distraction for me to continue with my responsibilities as State’s Attorney. I’ve been honored to serve in this capacity for more than a decade! I’ve been privileged to work with our phenomenal Law Enforcement Officials! They truly are the best of the best and deserve our thanks and respect! My intent is to focus on my faith, family, and health needs. I don’t plan on doing any interviews until I feel better and complete my physical therapy."

Attorney Scott Swier says the Minnehaha County State's Attorney position is important to the state and it's unfortunate the situation has come to this.

"Aaron McGowan has been a very valuable and well respected member of that office, whether as a deputy or as State's Attorney," Swier said. "Minnehaha County is losing someone, who for many years, has done a very good job for them."

Swier says whoever takes over the position will have a difficult job.

"You've got an incredibly increasing case load, you've got a staff who is very dedicated and does a great job, but the numbers keep growing and growing with the criminal filing," Swier said.

McGowan was first elected as Minnehaha County State's Attorney in 2008.