David Smock, a school doctor at Agape Residential School in Cedar County, was charged with three child sex crimes late last week. He remained at large on Monday afternoon.
As the Kansas City Star and The Associated Press reported earlier, an arrest warrant was issued Thursday for Smock, 57. Greene County prosecutors charge Smock with second-degree legal sodomy, third-degree pedophilia on a child under 14, and seduction or attempted seduction of a child under 15.
Greene County prosecutors viewed the prominent Cedar County doctor as a flight risk, whose social ties extend to Springfield, Wisconsin, Arizona and California, according to their request for arrest and detention without bail.
Smock’s whereabouts were unclear on Monday afternoon and he was not among the inmate labor force at Greene County Jail. A representative from the Smock-owned Stockton walk-in clinic referred News-Leader’s questions to local lawyer Craig Heidemann, who did not immediately respond to a message from the newspaper.
A spokesperson for the FBI Kansas City office said on Monday he could not confirm or deny any federal agency investigation into Smock, responding to rumors circulating among Agape alumni that the FBI could be involved in looking for the doctor.
The probable cause statement in the case details a series of charges. Written by a Missouri investigator, the statement quotes a 14-year-old Agape student who told the Missouri Children’s Division last year that Smock had inappropriately touched him.
Smock was charged with preparing the student with expensive gifts and entertainment outings over a period of approximately two years and sexually abusing the boy during a 2018 trip from Cedar County to Springfield for clean up a rental property owned by Smock, according to court documents.
Along with the “incitement” count, prosecutors also charged Smock with “deviant sex”, accusing him of committing a sexual act on the victim.
In their warrant application, Greene County prosecutors wrote, âAbuse would also occur in other states when the accused took the victim on trips to his other clinics.
Missouri officials obtained more reports from California law enforcement authorities during their investigation, according to the probable cause statement. In 2007, police in Gonzales, California, documented a report that Smock was sleeping in the same bed as a 15-year-old boy.
Gonzales Police also identified four other reports linking Smock to charges of “inappropriate sexual behavior with children under the age of 16,” including a pedophilia investigation in San Diego dating back to 1988.
Former Agape student calls David Smock a “predator”
Two Agape alumni who are not the victim in the Greene County criminal case told the News-Leader that they witnessed inappropriate behavior by Smock during their time at school .
A 19-year-old former Agape student, identified as “John Doe II” in court documents relating to a civil action he brought against the school, told the News-Leader on Monday that the staff member at Agape who was supposed to chaperone the students during meetings with Smock at his walk-in clinic often left the examination room.
âSometimes Smock would just put his hand on my thigh and slowly walk over to my underwear and stop right there,â Doe II said. Doe II said he was 12 when he first suffered what he now considers inappropriate touching from Smock. The behavior continued until he left school at age 14, he said.
âThe first, the second, the third time I was in his clinic, nothing really happened,â Doe II said. “But then he would start to get into a situation where he slowly evolves into something that I now realize was a predator.”
The former student added: “At such a young age for me or several other kids, it’s like we don’t know anything about it. We don’t know what’s going on. He just got away with it because that it seemed normal. “
A 27-year-old Michigan man who has also sued Agape, under the initials “RB” in civil suit files, told the News-Leader that many aspects of Smock’s clinic and Agape’s health care made them uncomfortable.
RB said it was standard practice for Agape and her doctor to wean new students off standard behavioral medications for conditions such as depression or ADHD upon arrival at school.
RB also said that Agape staff who took the students to Smock’s walk-in clinic were not being truthful about why their young accused needed to see a doctor.
âAnytime they immobilized us or injured ourselves, they would take us to his office, and it was always reported as a sports injury or something,â RB said.
RB said annual physical exams when young male students were asked to pull their pants down made him and others uncomfortable.
Agape, along with some other private reform schools in Missouri, have come under scrutiny for numerous allegations of abuse, assault and sexual abuse by former students. In September, local authorities filed minor felony charges against five staff, as the News-Leader reported.
The move came after a public row between Cedar County Attorney Ty Gaither and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt over the number and severity of charges that would be appropriate in Agape-related cases.
In a stern letter, Schmitt said the local prosecutor “indicated that he did not intend to seek justice for all of the 36 children who were allegedly victimized by 22 boarding school staff. Agape “.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact News-Leader reporter Gregory Holman by sending an email to [email protected] Please consider subscribing to support vital local journalism.