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Clark cop charged with teen assault; Alleged sex acts occurred in N.J.

Byline: Scott J. Croteau

WORCESTER - A Clark University campus police officer, who also works as a police officer in Berlin, is facing sexual assault charges in New Jersey for allegedly inappropriately touching and fondling a teenage girl last year at his family's New Jersey home.

Daniel J. Smith, 26, of 1 Autumn St., has been placed on administrative suspension from his job as a part-time police officer in Berlin, a position he started in April, according to Berlin Police Chief Otto F. Rhode Jr.

According to Clark University officials, Officer Smith worked at Clark from June 2003 to July 2006, when he went to New York to become a police officer there. Officer Smith returned to Clark in September 2007. He is now on administrative leave from that job pending the investigation, according to Jack Foley, Clark vice president for government and community affairs and campus services.

Officer Smith will appear in Pequannock Municipal Court, in New Jersey, on Monday to face the sexual assault charges. So will his brother, Curtis Smith, who lives in Pequannock Township, where the family is from.

Yesterday, Officer Smith was brought to Central District Court on a fugitive from justice charge. He was arrested by Worcester police while heading to work at Clark Wednesday night, on a warrant from New Jersey.

The warrant, however, was recalled because Officer Smith's mother posted his $75,000 bail Wednesday night. According to paperwork obtained by the Telegram & Gazette, Nationwide Bail Bonds posted the bail for Officer Smith. His mother paid $7,500 to the bail bond company.

The charge of being a fugitive from justice was dropped pre-arraignment yesterday, meaning it will not show up on Officer Smith's record, according to Pequannock police. He was released and planned to head to New Jersey for his court appearance Monday.

Affidavits on file in the New Jersey courts allege Officer Smith started a relationship with a young teenage girl - she was 12 and 13 at the time of the alleged incidents - in summer 2007.

The girl would sleep over at the Smith home in Pequannock Township. Another girl also allegedly slept over at the home. Authorities allege Curtis Smith sexually assaulted the other teenage girl.

In a June interview with Pequannock detectives, the girl told them Daniel Smith would send text messages to her. The girl said she sent return messages and described the messages' content as in a "flirting manner," court affidavits said.

Officer Smith is accused of sending her numerous pictures of his genitals as well.

Court affidavits allege the relationship between Officer Smith and the girl first started with kissing and touching, but then progressed. He is accused of rubbing himself in a sexual manner on the girl, kissing her inappropriately and digitally raping her.

Witnesses told police they knew the girl slept over at the house starting in summer 2007.

Detectives interviewed Officer Smith on Tuesday after he voluntarily went to the police station. He told them the victim had a crush on him and he did text-message her. He allegedly said he spent time with her when she slept over but denied any sexual activity. He then left and returned here.

Arrest warrants were issued for the Smith brothers on Wednesday.

Curtis Smith is accused of raping the other girl who slept over at the family's home, starting in summer 2007. He is accused of text-messaging the girl - 13 at the time of the allegations - and touching her inappropriately, court affidavits said. He is also accused of digitally raping her and making her touch him inappropriately.

Witnesses told investigators they saw Curtis Smith in bed with the alleged victim and on one occasion she was topless.

Officer Smith is charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Curtis Smith is facing the same charges, except that he is facing only one count of second-degree sexual assault.

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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