Trial date set for man accused of human trafficking, possession of child porn

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The case of a man accused of human trafficking, possession of child pornography and sexual assault of a child has been set for jury selection in May.

Robert Allen Smith, 34, pleaded not guilty to the charges in January at a hearing before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Smith appeared for a pretrial hearing before Tidwell with Assistant Public Defender Clayton Haas earlier this week.

Tidwell scheduled the case for jury selection at the Bowie County courthouse May 7. Tidwell denied a request from the defense to reduce Smith’s current bond which totals more than $1 million.

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Haas said his office is considering whether a computer expert is needed to assist in the defense’s case and could be asking the court to approve funding for such a request in the future.

All of the charges facing Smith stem from allegations involving a former girlfriend’s teen daughter. The abuse allegedly occurred while the girl was 15 to 17 years old.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Smith would send the girl a text message telling her to take a shower when he wanted to sexually abuse her. The girl told authorities that Smith would come in the bathroom and sexually abuse her.

The girl described being sexually assaulted and sodomized and alleged that Smith would ask that she urinate on his face. The girl allegedly told a forensic interviewer at the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center that Smith took nude photos of her in the bathroom of her mother’s home with a drone that he held in one hand while working the controls with the other.

The girl reported that Smith traveled with her across state lines during a summer while he was working as a commercial truck driver and that he sexually abused her in various locations during the trip. Images depicting the sexual exploitation of children were allegedly found after Smith’s electronic devices were seized by law enforcement.

If convicted of child pornography possession, Smith faces two to 10 years in prison. If convicted of sexual assault of a child, Smith faces two to 10 years on each of two counts. If found guilty of trafficking, Smith faces 25 to 99 years or life in prison.

There is no parole eligibility from a sentence for human trafficking in Texas. Smith must serve the entire amount of any sentence he receives for that offense if convicted.

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