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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Ex-teacher waives hearing in cases involving children

June 3rd, 2013 9:49 pm by John Thompson

Ex-teacher waives hearing in cases involving children

Kelly Smith

ELIZABETHTON — A former teacher at Hampton Elementary School was bound over to a Carter County grand jury on Monday after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Kelly Andrae Smith, 30, was in Sessions Court on charges of aggravated statutory rape, solicitation of a person under 18 years of age and solicitation of a minor to observe sexual conduct. Smith appeared with his attorney, Jim Bowman. Judge John Walton ordered the case bound over and ordered Smith to report to Criminal Court on July 26. Walton also ordered Smith not to have any contact with minors.

Smith was arrested twice by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department in April. The first arrest came April 11 after the mother of a 13-year-old girl discovered text messages that were allegedly from Smith on her daughter’s cell phone. The phone was brought to the sheriff’s department.

Lt. Mike Little said at the time of the first arrest that the phone contained more than 400 texts from Smith and also some explicit photographs of Smith. A departmental news release said “additional items were discovered on the child’s Facebook account that led to further discovery of sexually explicit communications to the student by Smith.”

The second arrest came April 17, after a mother and her 16-year-old daughter came to the sheriff’s department to say that Smith had sexual relations with the girl a few months earlier.

The girl said she went to Smith’s house in December, where Smith is alleged to have committed the statutory rape. She told investigators Smith began communicating with her via Facebook when she was in sixth grade at Hampton, when Smith was teaching there. Investigators asked the girl to describe the interior of Smith’s residence. Investigator Randy Bowers said the interior and furnishings matched the description given by the girl.

Smith was not teaching at the time of his arrests. According to the sheriff’s department, he was on unpaid suspension from his job because of an arrest by the Elizabethton Police Department on Feb. 12, when he was charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. Smith will be back in Walton’s court today with his attorney on those charges, Bill Byrd.

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