LIMA — Matthew Smith, the Lima man charged with raping and sexually abusing three young girls in a variety of ways over a period of several years, confessed to several of those allegations in a videotaped interview with police played Wednesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Smith, 35, was indicted by an Allen County grand jury in November on 83 counts related to the rape and sexual abuse of the girls over a span of nearly two years. Prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed 57 of the counts, leaving Smith to stand trial on 17 counts of rape, 25 counts of sexual battery and four counts of gross sexual imposition.
Evidence in Smith’s trial started on Tuesday and concluded early Wednesday afternoon. Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed, who heard the case as the sole trier of facts after Smith waived his right to a jury trial, said a verdict would be announced Thursday morning.
The lone presentation in the state’s case Wednesday came in the form of a jailhouse interrogation of Smith by Lima Police Department Detective Steve Stechschulte. More than an hour into Stechschulte’s interrogation — following repeated denials that he had improperly touched any the three girls — Smith slowly began to admit that some sexual contact had indeed taken place.
He told the detective the oldest of the girls, who was between 11 and 13 years of age at the time, had masturbated him, that he rubbed her breasts and that they performed oral sex on each other. Smith said the girl had heard about oral sex at school and had asked to experience it with him.
Earlier in the interview Smith steadfastly denied any sexual conduct with the two younger girls, telling Stechschulte, “I would never molest a child. I don’t know who did what but it wasn’t me.”
During a follow-up interview the following day, however, Smith admitted the youngest of the minors, who was 7 years old, touched and rubbed his penis while the other girl had masturbated him and performed oral sex on him “four or five times.” He also admitted touching the vaginal areas of both girls.
By his own count the majority of sexual activity occurred between Smith and the oldest of the victims. He told Stechschulte of “30 to 40” instances where he performed oral sex on the young girl and a similar number of times when he was the recipient of oral sex from her.
He denied penetrating any of the girls in any fashion.
“I didn’t mean to hurt them,” Smith told Stechschulte at the end of the second interview.
The state rested its case at the conclusion of Stechschulte’s testimony.
Defense attorney Zach Maisch called no witnesses to testify. He said Smith elected to “invoke his right to remain silent and not testify.”