POINT PLEASANT — A Mason man charged with eight counts of possession of child erotica waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Monday, according to records in Mason County Magistrate Court. That case is tied to an investigation in Kanawha County where the alleged sexual abuse of a female infant was reported to have taken place and been filmed.
According to the criminal complaint in Mason County, a search warrant was served at the residence of Richard W. Smith, II, 39, on May 24 by troopers with the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police. In serving the warrant, nine CD’s inside the residence were reportedly recovered. In reviewing the discs, a total of five videos were observed by law enforcement which reportedly depicted a female infant, who was subsequently identified as a relative of Smith’s ex-girlfriend, being molested by both Smith and a female subject believed to be Smith’s ex-girlfriend, according to the complaint. Also contained on the discs were three nude photographs of what is believed to be the same infant depicted in the videos, according to the complaint.
Smith remains housed in the Western Regional Jail on a $300,000 bond for the possession of child erotica charges as well as a $10,000 bond for violation of a protective order in an unrelated incident, according to records in Magistrate Court in Mason County. Both bonds were set by Magistrate Cheryl Ross. Defendants have the right to waive their preliminary hearings in Magistrate Court. The case regarding the possession of child erotica charges now moves on to Mason County Circuit Court for possible, further court proceedings.
Smith is also facing charges of sexual abuse in the first degree, sexual assault in the first degree and use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct in Kanawha County where law enforcement believe the incidents observed on the videos are alleged to have taken place in 2015. His bond in Kanawha County was set at $100,000 cash only.
According to criminal complaints related to this case in Kanawha County, Smith was reportedly dating and co-habitating with Roseanna E. Thompson, 45, Charleston, at their residence in Kanawha County in 2015. The victim is described as a relative of Thompson and a female infant, “physically helpless and well below the age of 12.” The complaints against Thompson and Smith indicate at the time of the alleged incident, the defendants did allegedly knowingly film themselves and the female infant victim while allegedly engaging in the reported sexual abuse.
According to the criminal complaint, Thompson has been charged in Kanawaha County with sexual abuse in the first degree, sexual assault in the first degree, incest and use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct. Her bond has also been set at $100,000 cash only.
Both Smith and Thompson remained incarcerated as of Thursday afternoon – Smith at the Western Regional Jail and Thompson at the South Central Regional Jail.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.