Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Missourian Pastor arrested for raping mentally handicapped girl
A Cave City pastor was arrested on Jan. 25 for felony rape following an investigation that began with an emergency call on Jan. 15. The 911 call was from the mother of a 15-year-old female victim regarding an incident of alleged sexual contact between the pastor and the young woman who is mentally handicapped.
Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts and Detective Aaron Presser responded to the call. The mother told Presser that one of her daughters came into her room late in the evening of Jan. 14 to explain her younger sister was crying and upset. After the mother went to speak with her daughter, she was informed that Ira Smith, 33, had forced the girl to perform oral sex on him in the home the day before, also touching her inappropriately during the incident.
Records indicate that Smith had also been accused in 2009 of a similar incident but was cleared by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. On or around Jan. 17, Crimes Against Children Investigator Allison Vanaman was contacted about the case and interviewed the victim and other siblings in the home. According to the case report, Vanaman's training led her to believe that four of the children had been assaulted by Smith, and further investigation into Smith's behavior was needed.
Sheriff Counts had originally scheduled a polygraph for Smith on Jan. 22, following the initial interview, but Smith failed to appear for the examination. Arkansas State Police Special Agent Ramey Lovan performed the polygraph examination on Jan. 24 at the Troop C Headquarters in Jonesboro, after Smith was advised of his Miranda rights and signed the required consent forms to undergo the examination. During the interview, Smith admitted to forcing the child to the sexual act, collaborating the story the girl had told her mother. Smith denied the accusations of molesting the other children in the home, but did admit to sexual fantasies about another child in the home, who is also 16.
Smith was arrested on Jan. 25 and charged with Class Y felony rape. The violation states that Smith "Did, unlawfully and feloniously, engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person who was incapable of consent because she is physically helpless, mentally defective or mentally incapacitated." Smith is being held in the Sharp County Detention Center, and is due in Circuit court on Feb. 6 for his first appearance. He is the pastor at Corinth Baptist Church in Cave City.