Why Admitted Pedophile Is Not On Sex Offender Registry

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TAMA, Iowa -- Stewart Smith admits he is a pedophile. He admits he tried to take two young girls. He was on the National Sex Offender Registry. But even though he was charged with trying to entice eight children into having sex with him, the youngest just eight-years old, Smith was offered a plea deal that kept him off the sex offender registry and, according to police, gave him access to countless children.

Last week Smith was arrested near Tampa, Florida on a warrant out of Iowa where he is now accused of sexually assaulting two girls over several years, starting when the alleged victims were just eight-years-old.

Smith had been on the National Sex Offender Registry after being convicted of criminal sexual conduct in 1989, but has since been removed from the registry.

In May of last year, while Smith was living in Tama County, he was charged with 14-counts of sex crimes against children as young as eight-years-old. Those charges included three charges of child endangerment, nine counts of enticing a child, and two counts of indecent contact with a child.

In a plea deal, all of those charges were dropped, and Smith pleaded guilty to two felony counts of child stealing. Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren didn't want to respond to our questions on camera, but issued a statement that reads, "The primary prosecutorial consideration which led to the ultimate resolution involved issues regarding the sufficiency of admissible evidence to support a verdict. The legal battleground in the cases involved the intent of the defendant."

In other words, the county attorney didn't believe there was enough evidence to prosecute for a sex crime.

Smith's attorney did file a motion to suppress "incriminating statements" made by Smith's wife, as well as statements made by Smith after he was in custody because, according to the motion, "Defendant was not read his Miranda rights and allegedly made incriminating statements." We don't know whether that played a role in the plea deal. But we do know the deal included keeping Smith off the sex offender registry.

According to court papers, "The honorable Patrick Grady stated on the record during sentencing that for the purposes of the sex offender registry, it was his finding that these are not sexually motivated offenses.."

That, according to police in Florida, enabled Smith to have more contact with kids here in Iowa.

"He had various instances where he was a part of youth groups, Girl Scouts," said Cristen Rensel with the Pinellas Sheriff's Office.

Smith received a 10-year suspended sentence on the child stealing charges and was placed on three years probation. In a suspended sentence, a judge delays the sentence, then usually dismisses it once the defendant completes probation. Tama County is currently extraditing Smith back from Florida to face the new charges against him.

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