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Cherokee County man sentenced for molesting 15-year-old

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A 52-year-old Cherokee County man was found guilty of child molestation and sentenced to 70 years.

According to prosecutors, 52-year-old Collin Anthony Smerk was sentenced after a Cherokee County jury found him guilty on March 24, of child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of children, and invasion of privacy. The jury deliberated for about two hours before coming to its unanimous decision. 

Superior Court Judge Tony Baker sentenced Smerk on May 2 to 70 years with the first 50 years to be served in confinement and the remainder to be served on probation.

Upon his release from prison, Smerk may have no contact with the victim, is banned from Cherokee County, and must adhere to sex offender special conditions.

Charges stem from allegations that Smerk molested a 15-year-old girl when she was visiting a Cherokee County home in 2017.

The child did not disclose the abuse until February 2020, at which time she told law enforcement specifics of the abuse and expressed concern that the defendant had also secretly videotaped her.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant of the home on February 14, 2020, removing a large quantity of digital evidence, including computers, electronics, and digital storage devices. During the search warrant, deputies also found adult toys that matched items the victim had described to law enforcement officers.

While conducting its investigation, detectives located child pornography on electronics belonging to Smerk. Videos possessed by Smerk included very young children being sexually assaulted by adults.

The electronics also contained video of visitors taking showers and using a bathroom in Smerk’s home. The individuals in the videos appeared unaware that a camera was in the bathroom.

Photos taken during the search warrant revealed a hidden digital camera in the basement bathroom. The camera was later recovered from the passenger seat of Smerk’s car, with the memory card removed.

“As we prosecuted this case, it became more and more apparent that Collin Smerk’s sexual deviance manifested itself in many ways and escalated over time,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper, of the Special Victims Unit, who prosecuted this case on behalf of the State. “His pornography consumption had themes of child sexual abuse and voyeurism that eventually became his playbook. With little regard for who he hurt, Mr. Smerk violated the privacy of visitors in his home and he manipulated and sexually violated a vulnerable child in order to satisfy his own selfish desires.”

After the jury issued its guilty verdict, the victim took the stand to provide a statement in which she described the affect his actions have had on her life and her hope that, through this conviction, she will no longer live in fear of Smerk.

“This defendant betrayed and used a child for his own sick pleasure. Then, when faced with a trial, he further traumatized the victim who had to take the stand and testify about his perverse behavior,” said District Attorney Shannon Wallace. “This sentence protects other innocent children, punishes this defendant for his actions, and provides justice for victim in this case.”  

This case was investigated by Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted by Deputy Chief ADA Katie Gropper of the Special Victims Unit, Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office.

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