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Jury: Smith is ‘not guilty’ of sexual abuse

By Staff | Sep 15, 2010

“What now?” asked Harold O. Smith after hearing that a jury of his peers came back with a verdict of not guilty on six charges of sexual assault.

“You’re a free man,” replied George J. Cosenza, Smith’s attorney.

Smith, 55, of 100 S. Wells Street, Sistersville was indicted and charged with the felony offense of sexual abuse in the first degree, two felony offenses of sexual abuse by a custodian, and one felony offense of sexual abuse in the third degree in 2007.

But when a second victim came forward, Smith was also charged with four counts of sexual assault in the first degree by subjecting a minor child to sexual contact who was incapable of consent because she was less than 11 years old and not married to the defendant to have occurred in 1977 and 1978. He was further charged with two counts of sexual assault in the third degree by engaging in sexual intercourse with the minor to have occurred in 1982.

After one mistrial, jury selection started Tuesday morning and after seating a jury of 13, the trial got under way. Special Prosecuting Attorney Carl “Worthy” Paul was assigned the case after Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney D. Luke Furbee was required to refuse the case due to prior involvement before being elected to office.

After hearing testimonies from several witnesses in the case, the victim was called to the stand.

She testified that Smith had sexually assaulted her in 1975 and 1977.

However, when Cosenza cross examined her, he asked her if she ever yelled out for help when Smith was doing these sexual acts to her and she replied, “No”.

Cosenza also questioned the statements the victim gave Deputy J.L. Richardson in 2007.

On Wednesday morning, Cosenza called his client to the witness stand to testify on his own behalf.

Smith stated he never had inappropriate sexual contact with the victim at any time.

After the jury heard the closing statements, it only took them 40 minutes to come back with not guilty verdicts on all six charges of sexual abuse.