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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)

 

ROCKY MOUNT - One week after being jailed on sexual assault charges, a longtime Franklin County teacher has been granted bond.

Clyde Timothy Smith was indicted by a grand jury last week on three counts of aggravated sexual battery of someone under the age of 13. The offenses are alleged to have ranged from early January 2015 until May, according to the indictments.

Smith, 59, of Rocky Mount, has worked within the Franklin County 's public school system for years. Most recently he taught physical education at Sontag Elementary School and worked as an athletic equipment manager with the high school.

He turned himself in to authorities on Aug. 9 after learning of the charges, defense attorney Will Davis said.

School superintendent Mark Church announced last week that Smith is on administrative leave until the matter is resolved.

At a bond hearing Wednesday in circuit court, Judge Stacey Moreau heard testimony and arguments for more than half an hour before granting Smith a $30,000 secured bond. She cited Smith's lifelong residency in the county and his lack of a prior criminal history.

As a condition of his release, Smith agreed not to leave the state, not to possess any firearms and to have no contact with any minors or with the complainant or the complainant's family.

Franklin County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Dwight Rudd sketched the charges against Smith in general terms, saying the alleged offenses occurred at Sontag and involved the fondling of genitals by hand through clothing.

"No one knew except the child, until he felt comfortable bringing those allegations forward to his family," Rudd said, adding that the matter is complicated by the fact that the family knows Smith.

"They were conflicted about it when it came to their attention," Rudd said. "That concern they have is ongoing."

Davis acknowledged he is also well acquainted with Smith, and said in court Wednesday that Smith coached him while he was in school.

On the pending charges, Davis offered, "It's my belief these allegations supposedly happened in gym class ... and when other students were present."

He said the investigation against Smith began in May, a distance in time he believed indicated the commonwealth had not considered Smith a serious threat.

"They chose to wait ... June and July and the first part of August before he was indicted," Davis argued.

More than a dozen friends and relatives showed up to support Smith at Wednesday's hearing, and four character witnesses testified on his behalf, including Franklin County High School football coach J.R. Edwards.

Joe Meador, Smith's Sunday school classmate at Franklin Heights Baptist Church, described Smith as someone who frequently helps others in the congregation with yard work, giving rides to older friends and running errands.

"He's always helping someone," Meador said. "He never misses a Sunday and he's always there."

Smith's charges are now set to go to a bench trial on Dec. 7.

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August 17, 2017
 
 
 

 

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