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Newton County authorities charge Tennessee man in 2003 molestation incident

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office has arrested a Tennessee man in conjunction with a crime they began investigating in the summer of 2003.

Roger Clark Smith, 47, of 508 Skyview Drive, Ashland City, Tenn., was arrested on Jan. 26 and charged with sexual exploitation of a child, child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

According to NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison, the victim at the time of the incident was 5 years old.

"He made an outcry to a family member that he was being touched inappropriately by a relative who lived in the home," Morrison said. "At that point an investigation began and an interview was conducted with the child, but he made no disclosure concerning the incident."

Morrison said at that point, the NCSO closed the case. Smith was no longer living in the home and the mother and son, who is now a teenager, subsequently moved to another jurisdiction, she said.

However in May of 2011, the mother contacted the NCSO and told investigators that her son was now having some problems and she believed it was the result of what had happened in 2003.

Morrison said investigators got the woman in touch with several resources who could offer counseling to the boy and from those interviews, the young man disclosed what had happened. Warrants were then obtained by Newton County authorities as the alleged crime took place while the family was living in Newton County.

Morrison said the statute of limitations had not expired on the alleged molestation due to the youngster's age at the time of the incident. He would have seven years after he reaches age 16 to report the crime if the offender was known, as he was in this instance. Had the offender been unknown, there is no statute of limitations on child molestation.

In other crime news, NCSO investigators are looking into a Saturday incident during which a 17-year-old girl was allegedly beaten and robbed by a gang of other young females and one male.

Deputies were dispatched to Newton Medical Center after the girl was taken there.

"She had visible injuries which were consistent with multiple scratches and a large amount of bruising around her eyes," Morrison said. "The female said she had been beaten up and robbed by nine to 10 black females and one black male while attending a party of 290 Ridgeway Road, off Flat Shoals Road. The assault allegedly occurred as as were trying to leave the party."

Morrison said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

In another incident, a 10-year-old girl from Flint Hill Elementary School has been charged with simple battery in connection with an assault on an 8-year-old female on Jan. 25.

Morrison said the principal at the school notified authorities on Jan. 30 that there had been a fight on a bus involving the two girls, one of whom is in the third grade and the other in the fourth grade.

Morrison said there is a video tape of the incident which shows the 8-year-old getting on the bus and sitting down and the 10-year-old gettiing on the bus and telling the younger girl to get out of the seat.

"When she did not get up, the 10-year-old began striking her multiple times in the head. She struck her over 40 times," Morrison said. "I felt there was enough probable cause to charge the 10-year-old with simple battery."

Morrison said the older girl struck the younger girl with her hands and no other object was involved. The younger girl is not believed to have sustained serious injuries.

Also, investigators are looking into a shooting that occurred on Jan. 23 at 604 Bethany Road.

A 20-year-old man reported that he had received a phone call from a friend he hadn't heard from in a while who said he wanted to come and see him. He gave him directions to his home and a short time after the call, he saw a dark-colored mini van pull into his drive.

"He saw two black males in the vehicle, but didn't see his friend," Morrison said. "He asked where his friend was and the men responded by saying he's coming. The victim asked, 'Why didn't he ride with ya'll?' and the men said he didn't want a ride. The next thing he knows, a man is standing there with a nickel-plated handgun pointing in his face and the other male said, 'Give me everything.'"

Morrion said the victim told the pair he didn't have anything on him but a pack of cigarettes and they began arguing with him.

"The victim then began running to his residence and heard the gun go off, shooting him in the buttocks," Morrison said. "He kept running and got inside his house and advised the other people in the residence to call the police and that he was shot."

She said no arrests have been made in connection with the incident, although there are several persons of interest. The investigation is ongoing.