An Ozark man is in jail and accused of kidnapping and raping a teenage girl.
Austin L. Smith, 21, is accused of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree sexual abuse. The rape and sodomy charges are both unclassified felonies, the kidnapping charge is a class A felony under Missouri law, and second-degree sexual abuse is a class A misdemeanor.
Sentencing laws allow a person convicted of a class A felony or an unclassified felony to be sentenced to 10-30 years or life in prison upon conviction.
Smith was arrested May 7, two days after a 17-year-old girl called 911 and reported to a dispatcher that she had been raped. Ozark police investigated an encounter that occurred May 5, at an apartment on West Bingham Street in Ozark. That’s where the girl allegedly met with Smith after the two exchanged messages.
According to a probable cause statement filed against Smith, the girl told a detective that she sat on a couch in Smith’s apartment, where the two talked about video games. Smith reportedly began to touch her breasts and inner thigh, and then pushed the girl down onto the couch. She told police that Smith tied her wrists behind her back with zip ties, took off her pants and led her into a bedroom.
Smith and the girl gave conflicting statements to detectives about whether or not their encounter was consensual, according to the probable cause statement.
“I mean, eventually she agreed to it,” the detective alleges Smith said.
Ozark police obtained a search warrant for Smith’s apartment. The police took bed sheets, a pillow case, clothing and other personal items as evidence.
A detective also looked through Smith’s cell phone, which allegedly had nude pictures of girls stored on it. One set of messages came from a juvenile who said to Smith that she was 13 years old. The detective wrote in the probable cause statement that there were “several nude photographs of female subjects on Smith’s phone,” none of whom were the 17-year-old he was involved with at his apartment in Ozark on May 5.
The girl underwent a forensic interview at Child Advocacy Center in Springfield on May 6, when she told a forensic interviewer, “I got raped by this guy, Austin Smith.” According to the probably cause statement, she “remembered yelling at Smith to ‘stop’ and said ‘no’ repeatedly.”
Smith is being held without bond in the Christian County Jail in Ozark. He has a bond hearing scheduled for May 12 in associate circuit court. Smith, according to online court records, is reportedly seeking a public defender to act as his attorney.
Editor’s note: In the Headliner News’ coverage of court cases involving minors, especially with allegations of sex crimes or molestation, some details found in court documents are intentionally omitted. This is done in effort to adhere to the Headliner News’ policies for news coverage and to protect the identities of minors and/or the victims of sexual offenses.