Area coach, still at large after escaping monitoring device, found guilty of sex crimes against 14-year-old

Justin K. Smith
Caption
Justin K. Smith

Credit: MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL

Credit: MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL

The ex-Southwest Soccer Club coach who has a nationwide arrest warrant is now a convicted sex offender after he was found guilty by a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge.

Justin K. Smith, 41, of Germantown, was found guilty Friday on all eight counts including sexual battery by a coach against a 14-year-old girl he had coached since she was 8.

Smith did not hear the verdict read by Judge Erik Blaine because he left the courthouse on Wednesday just before closing arguments in the bench trial. Smith took off his electronic monitoring device, which last gave a location in Franklin. Smith was still at large Friday.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Judge Erik Blaine reconvenes court after Justin Smith potentially cut his electronic monitoring device and did not show up for closing arguments in his trial after he testified in his own defense.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

RELATED: Smith testifies, leaves court and doesn’t return

“He coached her to lie. He coached her to hide things from her family and coached her to stay silent about his abuses and manipulations,” Blaine said. “That kind of coaching is criminal and today the Court is shedding lights on the darkness of his deeds.”

Blaine revoked Smith’s $50,000 bond and ordered no bond when he is apprehended. Sentencing will be scheduled after Smith is located because it can’t go forward without the defendant’s presence.

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Montgomery County assistant prosecutors said Smith faces up to 15 years or more for his convictions and now could face a felony escape charge for disabling his monitoring device.

The victim’s family declined comment, but Smith’s attorneys urged their client to report to authorities.

“We’re concerned for his safety,” defense attorney Michael Booher said. “We’re concerned he didn’t do anything rash or do anything to hurt himself. Certainly, I’d like to see him come back and finish this case up.”

RELATED: Ex-soccer coach indicted on more sex-related charges

Booher and co-counsel Adam Arnold said they plan to appeal the decision after Smith is sentenced.

“The court finds the testimony of the victim to be highly credible,” Blaine said during Friday’s hearing. “The court does not find the testimony of Mr. Smith to be credible.”

Assistant prosecutor Dylan Smearcheck said Smith’s testimony — after which he left the courthouse — rang hollow.

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“We’re very pleased with today’s verdict,” Smearcheck said. “We feel like it appropriately reflects all the facts. The evidence was overwhelming in this case.”

Her advice for Smith was: “Turn yourself in. No good can come from waiting.”

Pretrial services officials said the electronic monitoring system is necessary to reduce the jail population and maintain community safety.

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Some of the victim’s family members teared up and hugged after Blaine read his verdicts.

“Mr. Smith took advantage of the innocence of a child. He broke the trust of her parents, who were supposedly his friends. And he abused the authority of the position that he had been given,” Blaine said.

“And instead of using his role to strengthen the confidence and character of tomorrow’s young women, Mr. Smith indeed isolated and abused her — one of the very girls he was supposed to protect.”

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