Local man charged after indecent run-in with minor


BUCKHANNON — Charles Ray Smith, age 68, of Buckhannon, has been charged with showing obscene material to a minor. The incident occurred on Sunday, October 30, at approximately 6:48 p.m. West Virginia State Police and the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department responded.

According to the criminal complaint, Trooper Zack Lewis of the West Virginia State Police responded to the call which was in reference to an altercation occurring at the Maniac Mountain Haunted House located on Teter Road in Buckhannon. Trooper Lewis was advised that an older male, later identified as Charles Ray Smith, who allegedly had displayed a graphic, nude picture to a juvenile victim. The accused, Charles Ray Smith had left the scene and was walking on foot towards his residence. The description of the male was “older and wearing a red shirt.”

Trooper Lewis patrolled the area and identified a Jeep carrying a passenger with a red shirt. This officer pulled up to the Jeep and identified the passenger in the back seat as the accused. The accused had been picked up by friends. While speaking to the accused he admitted and stated to showing a nude picture of a “black man” to a “17 or 18-year-old.” The age of the victim at this time was unknown. Trooper Lewis then escorted the accused back to the scene where Deputy Bender of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office was interviewing the victim and witnesses.

The criminal complaint then noted that Trooper Lewis met with Deputy Bender to receive information on the victim’s statement and claim. Deputy Bender advised Trooper Lewis that the victim and accused have talked previously on an iPhone application called “WhatsApp” and a screenshot from the accused and victim’s conversation shows the accused stating “You are cute sweetie” to the victim. Deputy Bender also advised Trooper Lewis the accused asked the victim if she wanted to see a picture. After showing the picture, which was of a naked black male, he advised her if “she wanted it” he could have her meet him for sex.

With statements from the accused and the victim, Smith was then placed under arrest for displaying obscene material to a minor. Smith was read his Miranda Rights and questioned afterwards. During questioning, the accused stated he did show a naked picture of a black male to the victim while at Maniac Mountain.

Smith is currently being held at Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond.

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