Ex-Pastor Sentenced in Videotaped Sex Assaults
Putnam Man Gets 45 Years for Abusing Underage Relatives

By Veronica Nett
Charleston Gazette
December 2, 2008

WINFIELD, W.Va. - A former Putnam County pastor was sentenced to a maximum of 45 years in prison Monday morning after pleading guilty to videotaping himself sexually abusing three relatives and his stepdaughter.

Putnam County Circuit Court Judge O.C. Spaulding sentenced Paul D. Smeltzer, 40, to 17 to 45 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault.

Smeltzer, of Scott Depot, pleaded guilty in September to videotaping himself sexually abusing his 7-year-old niece in January 2007.

In September, he also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his stepdaughter in May 2004. She was 12 at the time of the abuse.

"I know I've sinned before God," Smeltzer said in an address to the court.

"I hope you also know God and will show the mercy God always shows us," he said.

Spaulding sentenced Smeltzer to 15 to 35 years for one count of sexual assault in the first degree and 1 to 5 years for each of two counts of sexual assault in the third degree.

Smeltzer worked as a part-time pastor at the First Christian Church of St. Albans Disciples of Christ. He joined the parish in December 2006.

Smeltzer and his family moved to West Virginia, his wife's home state, in 2003, according to an article published in the Gazette when he became pastor at the church in St. Albans.

Prior to moving to West Virginia, Smeltzer worked at churches in California and served as a leader for the student ministry at Community Bible Church in Mira Mesa, Calif.

"You had problems in California," Spaulding said Monday, alluding to similar charges against Smeltzer during his time on the West Coast.

"I don't see where you solved the problems," Spaulding said.

In addition to his sentencing, Smeltzer will face up to $30,000 in fines. He also will pay for all or a portion of the costs for any psychological treatment the victims may seek.

Reach Veronica Nett at or 348-5113.


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