Logan man accused of molesting teenage girl waives preliminary hearing

Gavel. Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

LOGAN — A 34-year-old Logan man facing charges of allegedly sexually abusing a teenage girl in Cache and Wasatch counties has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Eric W. Smith is accused in charging documents of molesting the 14-year-old girl several times in July 2020.

Smith participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday afternoon, appearing by web conference with his attorney. He was previously charged with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Court records show, Smith faces a similar charge in the 4th District Court in Heber City.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray explained that the two cases are due to the allegations reportedly taking place over the period of several days in both areas. The alleged victim was an acquaintance of the defendant’s family.

During Tuesday’s hearing, defense attorney Rudy Bautista said he had met with Murray, who was planning on playing a recorded interview by the alleged victim about the allegations. He explained that in light of the evidence, his client wished to waive the preliminary hearing and plead “not guilty” to the charges.

Court records show, Smith has already been bound over for trial in the other case in Heber. He is scheduled to appear again June 30 for a pretrial conference.

Bautista told the court he was representing Smith in both cases and asked for a similar pretrial conference to be scheduled in the second case.

Judge Angela Fonnesbeck granted Smith’s waiver of the preliminary hearing and ordered him to appear again in court August 2.

Smith spoke only briefly, acknowledging his willingness to be bound over for trial. He is not in custody and could face up to 15-years in prison if convicted.

Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.


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