Casper Woman Admits ‘Coaching’ Teenage Girl to Perform Sex Acts
A woman accused of helping her husband groom young girls to perform sex acts could face decades in prison after entering guilty pleas Thursday in Natrona County District Court.
Sonya Sue Smiley, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of accessory before the fact to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Together, the charges carry a total maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.
Smiley entered the pleas as part of an agreement with prosecutors. They are 'cold pleas,' meaning at sentencing the state can argue Smiley serve the maximum sentence allowed by statute.
But under the agreement, the two terms of imprisonment would run concurrently, meaning Smiley would spend no more than 20 years in prison.
Smiley will also be required to register as a sex offender.
In pleading guilty to the first charge, accessory before the fact to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, Smiley admitted to coaching a 15-year-old girl to perform fellatio on Smiley's husband.
On one occasion, according to court documents, Smiley was present as the victim performed oral sex on her husband.
Smiley's second admission, third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, references Smiley's purchasing a submissive sex slave collar for the victim and encouraging her to wear it.
In court Thursday, Smiley claimed she did not know the nature of the "choker," as she called it, when she purchased it.
"I honestly didn't realize it was for S and M stuff," Smiley told the court.
Judge Catherine Wilking clarified that investigating officers observed "distinctive characteristics" on the collar that would have identified its purpose. Smiley acknowledged the collar did bear those characteristics.
Public defender Kurt Infanger asked Wilking to reduce Smiley's bond, which is currently set at $100,000, because Smiley may need to travel to Colorado to see a gynecological oncologist.
Infanger said a recent MRI revealed a complex cyst which may prove malignant.
"Mrs. Smiley may have ovarian cancer," Infanger told the court, asking that Smiley's bond be reduced to a personal recognizance bond or $5,000 cash or surety.
Assistant District Attorney Brett Johnson objected to Infanger's motion, saying it put all parties in a difficult position.
"We don't really know the danger to the defendant's health," Johnson said. "She could go down and find out it's nothing and then she's out for a couple of months."
Wilking declined to modify Smiley's bond, leaving it set at $100,000 cash or surety. Smiley remains in custody.
Smiley's husband, 45-year-old Lenard William Smiley, pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor. In exchange for his guilty pleas, the state agreed to dismiss four remaining charges.
The plea agreement calls for Smiley to spend 45-70 years in prison. However, Judge Catherine Wilking noted she has the authority to impose a harsher sentence should she decide the agreed upon sentence is too lenient.
If that happens, Smiley would be allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas and the case would be reset for trial. Smiley was previously required to register as a sex offender, having been convicted second-degree sexual abuse of a minor in Alaska in 2001.
Court documents say a victim's parents told police in November that family friends -- the Smileys -- had sexually abused their daughter when the victim stayed with them on and off from May 2015 through May 2016.
The victim's family and the Smileys met through a group that recreates pre-17th century European History, according to the affidavit. The girl reportedly knew Lenard Smiley was a convicted sex offender, but he would tell people that Alaska police framed him and the charges were false.
The Smileys allegedly bought the victim gifts and invited her to stay with them. After several months, the Smileys reportedly told her that since they were doing all those nice things for her, she needed to do things for them.
According to charging documents, the Smileys told the victim to perform sex acts that were unbearably painful. At one point, she reportedly passed out and had to be taken to a hospital.
After interviewing the first victim, investigators spoke with another teenage victim who said Smiley made her model underwear and swimsuits.
Court documents say the victim told police that the Smileys locked her inside the house at one point and would not let her call home.
An investigator writes in the affidavit that the actions were all part of "the grooming process," which involves a sex offender gaining access to and control over child victims.