Rape suspect wants child interviews tossed


By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



Matthew Smith, 33, who is on trial after being charged with more than 80 counts of rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery, sat silent Monday during a motion hearing that seeks to have statements made by the alleged victims ruled inadmissible at trial.

Matthew Smith, 33, who is on trial after being charged with more than 80 counts of rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery, sat silent Monday during a motion hearing that seeks to have statements made by the alleged victims ruled inadmissible at trial.


LIMA — The attorney for a Lima man facing more than 80 counts of rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery is attempting to have statements made by the alleged victims to social workers at a Columbus hospital ruled inadmissible in court.

Matthew Smith, 33, appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court Monday as two forensic interviewers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital were called to testify about their conversations with the alleged victims of sexual abuse in his case.

Defense attorney Zachary Maisch is attempting to have video recordings of those interviews with the three alleged victims — described as being ages 12, 10 and 8 at the time of the offense — thrown out of evidence and to “prohibit any witness from testifying about out-of-court statements made by the victims.”

Maisch said in his motion to suppress that he anticipates the state will attempt to play and admit these video-recorded interviews as part of its case-in-chief. The attorney said the court should rule the statements and interviews as “inadmissible hearsay” in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “unless each victim first testifies as trial.”

The two employees of Nationwide Children’s Hospital who took the witness stand on Monday, called to testify by the state of Ohio, described in mostly generic terms how interviews with young suspected victims of sexual abuse are conducted.

None of the questions focused on the specifics of the case involving Smith. Reed took the testimony of the forensic interviewers, as well as a video of the interviews in question, under advisement.

Smith is charged with 69 counts of rape, including an allegation that 59 of those rapes were committed against a victim less than 13 years of age. The bulk of the alleged incidents are said to have occurred Aug. 1 through Oct. 31, 2019. Many of the counts allege the acts took place through either the use of force or the threat of force.

He is also charged with four counts of gross sexual imposition and 10 counts of sexual battery, all felonies of the third degree.

Smith was arrested after the Lima Police Department was made aware by officials from the Logan County Children Services of alleged sexual abuse at a residence in the 800 block of Greenlawn Avenue.

One of the girls told investigators Smith had been forcing himself on her sexually since 2017. Another told police Smith forced her to take off her clothes so he could take nude photos of her with his cell phone, court documents state.

The youngest victim said she had been assaulted for approximately a year.

Matthew Smith, 33, who is on trial after being charged with more than 80 counts of rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery, sat silent Monday during a motion hearing that seeks to have statements made by the alleged victims ruled inadmissible at trial.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/10/web1_Matthew-Smith-10.25.21.jpgMatthew Smith, 33, who is on trial after being charged with more than 80 counts of rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery, sat silent Monday during a motion hearing that seeks to have statements made by the alleged victims ruled inadmissible at trial.

By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

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