Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Assault, Abusing Vulnerable Adults
A Casper man pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor and abuse of a vulnerable adult during his arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Thursday.
Trae Derik Smith, 26, accompanied by his public defender Joseph Cole, quietly entered the pleas before Judge Catherine Wilking.
Smith is charged with four counts of first-degree sexual assault [each punishable by five to 50 years imprisonment], two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor [each punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment], and two counts of abuse of a vulnerable adult [each punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment], according to the criminal information document.
Two of the first-degree sexual assault counts are of victims who are mentally deficient or developmentally disabled, according to the criminal investigation.
Wilking said a trial date will be set later.
She denied Cole's request to lower Smith's bond of $100,000 cash only. In a separate case, Smith has been charged with methamphetamine possession and child endangerment with methamphetamine.
According to the redacted affidavit of probable cause, officers were assigned to a sex offense case in early January and interviewed relatives of a girl and the girl herself who was born in 2002. The girl said in December she was staying at her sister's residence, went to a bedroom where she put her one-year-old nephew to sleep and she began to fall asleep herself. She said Smith came into the room and took off her pants and underwear and raped her.
In another interview, the girl said Smith had raped her in March 2018.
Two of the first-degree sexual assault counts and the two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor were the results of those alleged incidents.
A search warrant executed on the sd cards in Smith's cell phone revealed video of the videographer sexually assaulting apparently disabled women, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
The woman who reported the assaults of the girl told a detective that Smith worked at a local business, which was redacted from the affidavit.
On Feb. 15, the detective executed a search warrant on Smith's employment records at the business, and showed the video to management staff who identified the mentally disabled women as their clients.
The next week, Smith and his girlfriend were arrested for child endangerment with methamphetamine.
A detective interviewed the girlfriend who said Smith kept cell phones in his lunchbox and sometimes would bring home gloves used in hospitals.
During an interview, Smith waived his Miranda rights and said he worked at a nursing home that required him to turn in his cell phones before working with the clients. However, he said he didn't turn in one cell phone and kept that in his car, he said.
The detective later executed search warrants on several other electronic devices belonging to Smith. Photos and videos from those devices showed Smith's lower left arm, which had a tattoo, and the two women at the nursing home.
On April 11, Casper police arrested Smith, took him to the Natrona County jail, and booked him on the sexual assault and vulnerable adult charges.