Preliminary Hearing in Child Pornography Case

Preliminary Hearing in Child Pornography Case

McLean man was originally arrested on charges of carnal knowledge of an underage girl.

A preliminary hearing was held Friday, April 1 in the case against McLean resident Oliver Smith, 22. Smith was arrested on March 7 after a 14-year-old girl, who was missing from her grandparents’ house in Bridgewater, Va., was found in Smith's McLean home.

Smith, of the 6600 block of Hazel Lane, was charged by police with carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 18 and possession of child pornography.

The 14-year-old girl and Smith allegedly had started talking in chat rooms on the Internet, according to Detective Bucky Barlow, who testified at Smith's preliminary hearing in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The girl's grandmother and legal guardian described her granddaughter as having to be told every night to turn the computer off and go to sleep.

“She’d been on the computer at 2:30 a.m. the night before when I finally kicked her off to go to sleep,” the grandmother said. “The next morning she was off school for a snow day and told us she was going to our daughter’s house three doors away. When I went to pick her up, she was gone.”

Police found the girl, who had been missing since Feb. 28, at Smith's home in McLean on March 5.

The juvenile said she had been raped by Smith, according to Barlow. The girl also told detectives about images she’d seen on his computer that contained what appeared to be children involved in sexual situations, according to an affidavit for a search warrant.

Barlow testified that Smith said sex between the two was consensual.

SMITH'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY Peter Greenspun requested that both charges be dismissed, saying that it is the burden of the Commonwealth to "prove there is carnal knowledge."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Ben'Ary said Smith "admitted to having sex with the victim, which should be specific enough for a carnal knowledge charge.…The age of the defendant is the only question, and we can re-open that for further testimony."

Greenspun argued that the possession of child pornography charge should also be dropped since there is no way of knowing whether Smith actually downloaded the images onto the computer. Greenspun said the images had actually been deleted from Smith's computer.

But Detective Ryan Rowson found “thousands” of images on the internal drive of the Compaq Pressario computer, which Smith had received as a gift from his parents. Not all were of a pornographic nature, Rowson said. “There were probably hundreds of those, it was numerous,” he said.

Greenspun argued that Smith's Miranda rights were violated when police officer Christopher Guest went over the images with Smith at the Adult Detention Center, because Smith did not know he was being charged with possession of child pornography.

Greenspun requested that Smith be released on bond. "What if he meets another young girl and we go through this again. He doesn't have the judgment to say no," Judge Charles J. Maxfield said.

Judge Maxfield denied Greenspun's motion for charges to be dropped.

Smith was taken back to the Adult Detention Center in Fairfax.