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More Evidence of The Lengths The Court System Will Go To Boost Child Support For Federal Kickbacks

Comments here from a dad: The lenient sentence shows yet another double standard, cops v. regular white men. As horrible as the crime against the girl is, what also caught my eye was the reason they used for the plea agreement. He gets to keep his pension which "will mean more child support payments for the girl". She is under the custody of DSS, there is no doubt that she would gets fed, clothed etcetera even if the child support weren't coming in from this molester. It supports the argument many guys are making that the MA "system" is working perhaps in a concerted effort to get as much child support ordered as possible.

SOMEONE OR MANY OF US SHOULD WRITE LETTERS TO EDITOR ABOUT THIS ONE. PROBABLY REPORTED INTO THE BOSTON HERALD TOO (letters must be very short for the BH.) Good luck... post on list if get published. Mike Franco

MetroWestDailyNews.com Archive

Home > News & Opinion > Local News Coverage

Ex-cop avoids jail despite molesting girl By Associated Press Monday, May 23, 2005

TAUNTON -- Child advocates are criticizing a plea deal that allows a former Taunton police officer to stay out of jail and keep his pension, despite admitting that he repeatedly molested his adoptive daughter.

Under David Smith's plea agreement, negotiated with prosecutors this month, he was sentenced to pre-trial probation for four years, meaning the charge will be dismissed if he stays out of trouble during that period.

That also means he walks away with no criminal conviction and won't have to register as a sex offender, The Enterprise of Brockton reported yesterday. Smith, 58, admitted assaulting the child nearly every night for a year beginning when she was 7 years old.

"It's an extremely lenient sentence that doesn't serve to protect the community and its children and it sends the wrong message that people can do this and get away with a slap on the wrist," Janice Pothier-Pac, director of emergency services for rape crisis center New Hope, told the Enterprise.

Smith, a 27-year veteran of the police force, resigned last July after his arrest. He was charged after he told a counselor about the abuse, which started in 2000 after his then-wife moved out.

Smith admitted to sexually abusing the child for more than a year, prosecutors said. The abuse involved touching his genitals, sometimes with her feet, prosecutors said.

Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh Jr. defended the plea agreement. He said allowing Smith to keep his pension will mean more child support payments for the girl, now 11. A conviction would have stripped him of his $38,000 annual pension.

Forcing the girl to testify would have been traumatic, he added.

"Everything has to do with the health, the safety, the security and the welfare of that little girl," Walsh said. "The trauma to her would have been unconscionable."

The girl is now in custody of the Department of Social Services.

"She has now a therapist, she has people at DSS, all of whom believe this was in the best interest of the child to do it this way," Walsh told the Enterprise. "They all agreed this was the way to go."

But letting Smith walk free sends a bad message, said Jetta Bernier, chairman of the Massachusetts Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Partnership and executive director of Massachusetts Citizens For Children.

"What message does this send to the child?" Bernier said. "What message does this send to other offenders? That we are not raising the bar and you can get away with it?"

Taunton District Court Judge Francis L. Marini sentenced Smith on May 2. Smith's attorney, Daniel M. Rich of Norton, said his client does not admit guilt in the plea agreement.

If Smith violates his probation, the case would go to trial and he could face three years in jail.

Marini ordered Smith to undergo sex offender counseling, stay away from the girl, and pay child support.

( Copyright 105 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

Another Story on the Impact of Child Support Kickbacks