A Greenwood teen sentenced to prison time on child molestation charges told the judge he was sorry, but that it could happen again.
Austin Smith, 19, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to three felony counts of child molestation.
During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Smith told the judge he was sorry for his actions. After his arrest in December 2016, he told police he sometimes gets urges that get the better of him. When asked if he would commit the crime again in the future, he told the judge, “There’s always definitely a chance of it, but I’d try for it not to happen.”
Last year, three children, who were ages 5, 6 and 8 at the time, told a relative that Smith had touched them inappropriately. One of the children said the touching had happened multiple times. The family member then contacted police.
In April, Smith pleaded guilty to three counts of child molesting. In addition to his prison sentence, Johnson County Circuit Court Judge Mark Loyd sentenced Smith to five years on probation. During his probation, he must be part of a long-term supervisory program. Smith must also register as a sex offender, will not be permitted to live within 1,000 feet of a school and cannot contact anyone under the age of 16 via social networking.
“I am sorry for what I did because I hurt people I care about,” Smith said. “Whatever sentence I get, I deserve.”
Smith will get out of jail at a young age, and this behavior is highly likely to continue, which is why Loyd ordered for a close eye to be kept on Smith — especially because this wasn’t his first offense, he said.
When Smith was 14 years old, he admitted to touching another child inappropriately. He was not charged at the time, but got help through an adult and child services program.
After he is out of prison, he plans to get a job and eventually get a college degree, Smith told the court.