Former Lake Area Pastor Accused of Statutory Rape Heads to Trial Next Week
April 14, 2016
|Travis Ray Smith|
Travis R. Smith of California, Mo. is scheduled to for jury trail in Laclede County Circuit Court April 18-22.
He is facing multiple charges filed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for alleged incidents that took place in Moniteau County in 1998,1999, 2000 and 2005. The case was transferred to Laclede on a change of venue.
Charges include one county of forcible rape, five counts of second degree statutory rape, one count of sexual abuse, one count of forcible sodomy and one count of second degree statutory sodomy. The charges stem from allegations by two different women who were underage at the time in question.
Smith was arrested in 2012 by the Highway Patrol. After a mistrial in December 2015, the case was transferred from Moniteau County to Laclede.
Smith's trial had gotten under way with jury selection on Dec. 7, 2015 when it was cut short by the defense attorney requesting the mistrial.
According to appointed Special Prosecutor Michael Gilley (Camden County Prosecuting Attorney), one of the potential jurors made comments about the defendant that potentially tainted the entire jury panel.
Two prior trial dates in 2014 and 2013 had been rescheduled before the mistrial.
Smith’s 2012 arrest came just one year after being acquitted by a Miller County jury on a charge of child molestation that was filed in Morgan County in 2010. That case was tried in Miller County on a change of venue at the request of Smith.
Smith was once the pastor at First Baptist Church of Stover.