Casper Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse, Exploiting Vulnerable Adult
A Casper man faces between five and 60 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to sexually abusing two vulnerable adults, and entering an Alford plea to sexually assaulting a girl.
Trae Derik Smith, 26, entered the pleas during a hearing before Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking.
Smith pleaded guilty to abuse by sexual touching of a brain-injured vulnerable adult, born in 1981, in December 2018. Abuse of a vulnerable adult is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault of a developmentally disabled adult, born in 1980, from February 2017 through February 2019. First-degree sexual assault is punishable by five years to 50 years imprisonment.
Smith also entered an Alford plea -- meaning he admits the prosecution has evidence to convict him at trial -- to second-degree sexual abuse of a girl between 13 and 15 years old from February through April 2018. Second-degree sexual abuse of a minor is punishable by not more than 20 years imprisonment.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri did not recommend a specific sentence. Taheri said he would recommend the punishments run concurrently, or at the same time, for the first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse of the minor crimes, which would be at least five years. Depending on the presentence investigation, he said he may argue that the sentence for the abuse of the vulnerable adult crime run either concurrently or consecutively to the other punishment.
Four other charges will be dismissed at the sentencing, according to the plea agreement.
Smith pleaded not guilty in May.
Wilking is not obligated to accept the plea deal, because that is an agreement between Taheri and public defender Joseph Hampton.
A sentencing date has not been set.
Smith remains in custody.
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.
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.