Lawrence resident sentenced to 6-12 years for sex crimes

Published Dec 9, 2013 at 9:27 am (Updated Dec 9, 2013 at 9:27 am)

A judge from Allegheny County ruled Dec. 6 that a former Cecil Township resident is a sexual predator and sentenced him to serve six to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of indecent assault, corrupting minors, false imprisonment and making terroristic threats.

Eric Wayne Smith, 45, of 20 Third St., Lawrence, has been incarcerated in the Washington County jail since his arrest nearly one year ago.

Allegheny County Judge Edward Borkowski heard testimony in August and found Smith guilty on several counts, but acquitted him on charges of statutory sexual assault and sexual assault.

The victim, who was then 12, told Cecil Township police he would go to Smith’s house to obtain and smoke marijuana. Borkowski referred to Smith’s conduct as “grooming” a group of young people. On the night of the alleged assault, the boy told police he went into Smith’s home and after the two smoked marijuana, Smith restrained him in an upstairs bedroom and sexually assaulted him, township police said.

After the alleged assault, the boy told police Smith threatened to kill him if he told anyone. Authorities were contacted about three months after the episode.

On Dec. 6, Julia Lindemuth, a licensed professional counselor for Clover Psychological Association in Butler County and a member of the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, testified about Smith’s prior guilty plea in a child case. “Those issues are lifetime issues and the likelihood of re-offending is there,” she told the court.

She also revealed an accusation that Smith fondled a 5-year-old child who did not disclose the information until he turned 9.

Smith was not charged in connection with the incident, and against the advice of his public defender, Brian Gorman, Smith took the stand in an attempt to refute Lindemuth’s conclusions.

“I’m not a pedofile,” Smith testified. “That’s a pretty strong allegation. I don’t care what kind of college she went to. You do not know me.”

He acknowledged he said things to the alleged 5-year-old victim that he should not have said.

Gorman said Smith himself was a victim of sexual abuse as a minor, which he said contributed to Smith’s “lack of insight as to what he has done.”

The victim in the Cecil Township case chose not to appear in court, but his mother attended and submitted a statement on his behalf and that of herself and her family, telling the judge that Smith had inflicted great pain on all involved.

Borkowski is presiding on criminal cases through the year’s end, after which the Washington County bench is expected to return to its full complement of six judges.

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