The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

August 17, 2012

Carthage man convicted of third sex offense with minors

Jurors deliberated 10 minutes Friday in a trial in federal court in Springfield before finding a Carthage man guilty of sexual exploitation of a child.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the verdict could lead to a punishment of up to 35 years to life in prison without parole for Todd C. Smith, 41, because of prior convictions he had for sexual misconduct with a minor in Missouri and sexual abuse of a minor in Illinois.

At Smith’s two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Richard Dorr, the jury heard evidence of how the defendant used a cellphone to create videos of himself engaging in sexual acts with a minor.

The case came to light when Jasper County sheriff’s deputies responded Sept. 27 of last year to a report that Smith had slapped a young girl in Carthage. In the course of their investigation, sheriff’s deputies turned up evidence of his sexual exploitation of several children, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield.

Six videos discovered on his cellphone depicted Smith engaged in sex acts with a minor, while 12 more videos involving the same minor and five others appeared to have been recorded covertly in a bathroom.

Smith initially was charged in Jasper County Circuit Court with first-degree statutory sodomy and misdemeanor assault. A probable-cause affidavit filed at the time alleged that he exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl on Sept. 17 and sexually abused her.

A complaint was filed against him in federal court on Oct. 28 and he was indicted on the charge Nov. 8.


A sentencing hearing will be set when the United States Probation Office completes a pre-sentence investigation.


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