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Man gets 10 years for crimes against child



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September 24, 2013 | 03:36 PM
ELKHORN — A former Pell Lake man will spend 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child more than 50 times during a three-year period.

Larry J. Smith, 30, was also sentenced Tuesday morning to three years of extended supervision by Judge David Reddy.

On June 20, a Walworth County jury found Smith guilty of two counts of repeated sexual assault of a child and one count of sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age. Smith denies the assaults occurred and is maintaining his innocence. Seventeen people wrote letters to Reddy stating that Smith is a kind and generous person. However, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube said these letters are indicative Smith’s public personality and not the one he hides behind closed doors.

“There are two faces that this defendant presents to those around him. He presents himself as that helpful caring person,” Grube said. “That’s not the face he shows (the victim). That’s not the face he shows when it’s dark out... That’s not the face he shows when no one is watching.”

Smith began assaulting the girl in March 2008, according to court documents. Assaults continued until the girl came forward in May 2011. She was between the ages of 11 and 13 when Smith was assaulting her. At that time, Smith was between the ages of 24 and 27.

Smith’s defense attorney, Jenelle Glasbrenner, asked Reddy to impose but stay a 10-year prison sentence.

This would mean that Smith wouldn’t go to prison unless he violated the terms of his probation. She said Smith has a good family support system, has no prior adult criminal record and has a good work history. Since turning 18, Smith has maintained employment by serving in the military and working as an auto mechanic and in a factory.

Expert testimony

Glasbrenner, also brought in two expert witnesses that testified Smith has a low risk to reoffend.

Dr. Dawn Pflugradt, who is a sex offender risk-assessment specialist with the Department of Corrections, and Dr. Melissa Westendorf, a clinical and forensic psychologist, interviewed Smith and reviewed the reports before concluding that he has a low-risk to reoffend.

Pflugradt develops reports that are used by the Department of Corrections when it makes sentencing recommendations. Westendorf was retained by Glasbrenner.

Experts testified that Smith also isn’t likely to reoffend — which is defined as being arrested again — because he denies committing the Crime.

“Various studies indicate that denial in itself doesn’t correlate with recidivism rates,” Pflugradt said.

Both Pflugradt and Westendorf also testified that Smith, clinically speaking, didn’t exhibit behaviors of sexual deviancy.

The psychologists use actuarial factors to determine the risk factor. The risk factor would have been elevated if the victim was younger than 11 when the assaults began and if the victim was a male. Both Pflugradt and Westendorf testified that studies have indicated that sex offenders are more likely to reoffend when their victims are boys.

Grube was critical of the actuarial scales used by Pflugradt and Westendorf because they didn’t account for the fact that the assaults occurred during a three-year period and happened more than 50 times.

Reddy dismissed the arguments that Smith wasn’t sexually deviant when he announced the sentence.

“This may not be deviant behavior by actuarials using numbers ... It is according to society’s norm.”

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