A 42-year-old Helena man is accused of breaking into homes and sexually assaulting at least one teenager, as well as surreptitiously videotaping underage girls engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Raymond Dean Smith made an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula, and faces charges of sexual exploitation of children, receipt and possession of child pornography. He currently is detained.
According to information included in federal court documents, Smith came to the attention of law enforcement officers in Helena as a suspect in numerous incidents where he allegedly entered residences without permission. In one case, he was found hiding in the closet of a relative’s 6-year-old daughter, and pleaded guilty to an unknown charge on Feb. 16 in relation to the incident. But instead of reporting to jail as ordered, he allegedly fled the area.
Upon further investigation, officers began to believe that Smith was connected to a report from a woman who said she caught a man outside her residence, recording her through the bathroom window while she was in the shower. He’s also a suspect in another incident in which a teenager reported that a man was in her bedroom and sexually assaulted her while she was sleeping. In addition, police say he may be the person found May 16 inside a Helena residence in a 9-year-old girl’s bedroom.
In his affidavit outlying probable cause for the arrest, Detective Bryan Fischer reported, “There are additional incidents as well,” but doesn’t elaborate on those. He is asking that if anyone has additional information regarding Smith that they telephone Fischer at 444-1476.
Fischer writes that after Smith didn’t show up for jail, he was hiding out in a relative’s cabin in Jefferson County, where he allegedly abandoned various items including a computer and several video cameras. A search of the equipment turned up images and child pornography movies that Fischer said Smith reportedly received via the Internet between 2009 and 2010.
Officers served a search warrant on his home in March, where officers confiscated VHS tapes manufactured outside of Montana that contained child pornography images that he allegedly produced of various girls younger than 18 years old.
While searching the residence, they also allegedly found a hole cut in a wall between Smith’s bedroom and bathroom, where he could view people while they were showering. One of the videos found allegedly was one Smith took of a teenage girl in the shower engaging in sexually explicit conduct; the taping is thought to have occurred between 2006 and 2009, according to Fischer’s affidavit.
Smith also allegedly taped sexual relations he had with another underage girl.
“It is obvious from the tape that the girl is unaware that the sexual activity is being videotaped,” Fischer wrote.
The charges carry penalties that can include a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and up to 30 years, as well as a lifetime of probation office supervision and up to a $250,000 fine.
Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or email@example.com