Indictment Charges Jailed Marrero Pastor with Child Sex Crimes Dating to 1989

By Ken Daley
The Times-Picayune
November 4, 2016

Sherman R. Smith, the 56-year-old former pastor of a Marrero church, is charged with raping or sexually abusing seven young girls between September 1989 and November 2001, according to a nine-count indictment handed up Thursday (Nov. 3) by an Orleans Parish grand jury. (Courtesy of Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)

The jailed former pastor of a Marrero church was accused of rape and other sex crimes against seven child victims Thursday (Nov. 3) in a nine-count indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury.

Algiers' Sherman R. Smith, 56, was a pastor at Marrero's Second Highway Baptist Church, at 1533 Haydel Drive. Authorities said Smith took advantage of his position of trust to rape or sexually abuse young girls who often were friends of his own children. Seven different victims are named in the indictment, which charges Smith with sex crimes against juveniles alleged to have occurred between September 1989 and November 2001.

Criminal District Court Judge Ben Willard raised Smith's bond amount from $2.35 million to $5 million after the new indictment was read.

Smith initially was arrested last November on first-degree rape and sexual battery charges after three people came forward. He was booked with additional charges Sept. 13, court records showed, that included indecent behavior with a juvenile, sexual battery and molestation of a juvenile or person with a disability.

An affidavit for the recent arrest warrant said four more people came forward after information about Smith's first arrest was distributed on social media. The affidavit contains details about two of those victims' allegations.

In detailing their accusations to police, the fourth and fifth alleged victims said they were close family friends of Smith and his family when the abuse occurred, according to the affidavit. One said the crimes took place when she was between 9 and 11 years old.

When the girl's mother went on vacation, she left her in the care of Smith and his wife, she told police. She said Smith had watched her bathe, removing a piece of tissue that had covered a hole where the bathroom door handle was missing, and that he grabbed her while she was dressing herself in a bedroom.

She also told police Smith rubbed his body against hers while she stood in the kitchen, the affidavit said. In another incident at church, he told her to give him a hug and grabbed her breast and buttocks, she said..

The other person whose allegations are detailed on the document reported incidents that occurred when she was between 9 and 10 years old, the affidavit said. She and her siblings were close friends with Smith's children, and they all attended Bibleway Missionary Baptist Church, where Smith was a pastor at the time. They would attend sleepovers at Smith's house, she is quoted as saying to police.

She reported a similar incident with the tissue paper that covered a hole in the bathroom door: While she was undressing to take a bath, she noticed that someone had pushed the tissue out. She replaced it, and someone pushed it out again. She looked through the hole and saw an eyeball, and then heard Smith say "I see a little girl in there." She also said Smith came to lay in bed with her, and rubbed her arms and legs and kissed her cheek.

Smith pleaded not guilty in March to a charge of first-degree rape, according to court records.

Two more late-reporting accusers came forward in recent months.

The indictment unsealed Thursday accuses Smith of first-degree rape and sexual battery against one victim, occurring between March 1, 1992, and March 22, 1995. First-degree rape carries a mandatory life sentence upon conviction in Louisiana.

Count 3 is a charge of aggravated incest, alleged to have occurred between June 1994 and June 2001.

Counts 4-7 each are for indecent behavior with a juvenile, with four different victims claiming offenses between September 1989-November 2001.

The final two counts of the indictment are for sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile, involving yet another victim alleging abuse between August 1994 and August 1995.








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