June 22 – LIMA – The oldest of three young girls who prosecutors say were raped and sexually abused in various ways by Matthew Smith took the witness stand on Tuesday and calmly described the horror that the Lima man subjected him to from the age of 10 years old.
Smith’s trial began in the Allen County Court of Common Pleas without a jury after he elected to have a bench trial instead. Judge Jeffrey Reed will be the sole trier of fact at trial.
Smith, 35, was indicted by an Allen County grand jury in November on 83 counts related to the rape and sexual abuse of young girls over a period of nearly two years. Before testimony began on Tuesday, however, Allen County Assistant District Attorney Destiny Caldwell said the state had dismissed 57 of the counts in the indictment, leaving Smith to pursue the 26 counts. charges remaining, including 17 counts of rape, 25 counts. of sexual assault and four counts of gross sexual imposition.
The oldest of the alleged victims, now 15, recounted unwanted sexual advances that took place at locations ranging from the Cody Lake campground, a homeless shelter in Lima and from a residence in Cridersville to homes on Hazel Avenue, Holmes Avenue and Greenlawn Avenue in Lima.
The girl described repeated instances at each location where she said Smith forced her to perform oral sex on her, penetrated her vagina digitally and intercourse, and repeatedly performed oral sex on her.
“It hurt me,” she said after being forced to have sex with Smith.
The girl said she allowed the abuse ‘because he said he would kill my dad if I didn’t’. She said Smith produced a gun to convince her he was serious.
The girl’s younger sister told forensic investigators at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus of similar forced sexual encounters at the hands of Smith that began when she was 8 years old.
With Celeste Prince, a forensic investigator from the Ohio Network of Child Advocacy Center, on the witness stand, prosecutors released video of an interview the social worker did with the girl in September 2020. In the recording, she said Smith “stuck his thing in my butt” and hit her “wrong spot.” Showcasing anatomically correct drawings of Prince, the girl identified Smith’s “thing” as his penis and her own vagina as her “bad spot.”
She said it “really hurt me” when she was anally raped “but he (Smith) told me I’d be in trouble if I didn’t”.
An even younger sister said she was “8 or 9” when Smith started molesting her. In an interview conducted at Nationwide Hospital, the girl said her attacker made her rub his penis, put his finger on her vagina and tried, unsuccessfully, to have anal sex with her twice.
“He said if I ever tell anyone I’ll be in trouble,” she said in the taped interview.
Court documents reveal the Lima Police Department was first notified by Logan County Children’s Department officials of sexual abuse that allegedly took place at a residence on the 800 block of Greenlawn Avenue in Lima. .
Testimony at Smith’s trial will resume Wednesday morning.