Casper Woman Gets 18-20 Years for ‘Coaching,’ Sexually Abusing Young Girls
Prison awaits a woman who admitted last month to "coaching" young girls to perform sex acts on her husband -- actions the judge described as "unfathomable."
Sonya Sue Smiley, 50, was sentenced Thursday in Natrona County District Court to 18-20 years imprisonment on one count of accessory before the fact to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
She also received a 10- to 15-year prison sentence on one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, with the two prison terms running concurrently.
Smiley's husband, 45-year-old Lenard William Smiley, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
The state agreed to dismiss the remaining four charges against him, under a plea agreement that calls for Smiley to spend 45-70 years in prison.
Mothers of each victim gave victim impact statements to the court before Smiley was sentenced Thursday.
"I have to check the predator list on every person that any children come in contact with," one woman said. "I feel like I can't trust my own judgement."
"She was groomed to be used by this couple," the woman continued, saying the victim continues to struggle with suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"She feels she is an object," the woman said. "That she isn't a living, breathing person."
That victim's mother also said a vehicle with Alaska license plates had been circling their home. The Smiley's lived in Alaska previously, and the victim's mother believed the car to be driven by a family member of the Smileys who intended to intimidate the victim and her family.
The woman ended up moving her family to another part of Casper.
"It's too late for my child," the woman said, urging Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking to impose a sentence that would ensure Sonya Smiley is never able to hurt another child.
The mother of the second victim also spoke, highlighting the betrayal of what the Smileys did.
"I can't trust anyone," the woman said. "I trusted Sonya with my daughter."
"She is a bright and loving kid," the woman said of her daughter, "and she trusted us to protect her."
A man also spoke, reading a letter written by one of the victims.
"When you started doing this stuff to me, you told me it was okay to do it," the letter read. "When I passed out, you cleaned me up and made me feel like I was just a puppet."
"You would grab me between the legs wanting me to sleep naked next to you," the letter continued. "When you took pictures of me and I tried to stop you, you didn't. You thought I was just playing around."
"Both of you were just trying to turn me into a sex slave," the victim wrote, "putting a pure titanium collar on me and calling me a dog."
Smiley rocked back and forth in her seat as she heard the victim impact statements.
"I don't know what to say in a case like this," Assistant District Attorney Brett Johnson told the court.
Johnson explained that Sonya Smiley didn't just allow her husband to abuse the victims, but took an active role herself. Johnson also said it did not appear as though Leonard Smiley forced his wife to commit the crimes.
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 first 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.
The Smileys also allegedly made the victim wear a type of metal collar commonly used in sadomasochistic sex acts.
Court documents say the victim told police that the Smileys locked her inside their 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.
If effective, grooming can decrease the likelihood of the victim reporting abuse and gives the offender further opportunities to sexually abuse the victim, the detective wrote.
Officers arrested the Smileys in December.