An Ozark man remains jailed and awaits a trial scheduled to start March 8, 2021.
Austin L. Smith, 21, has a bond set at $5,000 after a hearing on July 23, but has yet to bond out of the Christian County Jail in Ozark. Smith 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.
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.
Online court records show that if Smith is able to post bond, he will be placed on house arrest with GPS monitoring. Smith would not be able to leave his home except for trips to court, his attorney’s office and to medical appointments. Smith would not be allowed contact with the victim in his case, nor would he be allowed to use the internet.
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.”
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.
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.