Man charged with raping 11-year-old girl
Updated 8:15 p.m.
ROOT A 23-year-old man is charged with raping an 11-year-old girl.
Investigators say the crime happened Jan. 25 at the 115 Old River Road home of Jeremy Smith in the town of Root.
According to Montgomery County sheriff’s Investigator Theresa Pingitore, the victim told a counselor Monday she had been raped. The counselor then called police.
“The police learned of this late Monday afternoon,” Pingitore said, adding that the suspect and victim were acquainted.
The Johnstown Police Department initially investigated because the counselor practices in the city. A few hours into the investigation, information pointed to Smith and the town of Root, so Johnstown officers turned it over to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Days after such an incident, a limited amount of physical evidence can be collected, so Pingitore said a large part of the case consisted of interviews, along with some gathered articles of clothing and witness statements.
In the process of interviewing everyone involved, Pingitore said, investigators obtained a confession from Smith.
“His story lined up with the victim’s,” she said, “and that was enough to make an arrest.”
Smith was taken into custody following his interview early Tuesday morning. He was charged with first-degree rape, a class B felony that could land him as much as 25 years in prison.
He was arraigned in Root Town Court and sent to the Montgomery County jail in lieu of bail, recommended by the county District Attorney’s Office at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond.