Thursday, November 17, 2016

Former Harrison High band director sentenced to 15 years for sex with students

A federal judge today sentenced the former Harrison High School band director to 15 years in prison for enticing a minor into having sex and 15 years for taking a minor across state lines to have sex. The sentences will run concurrently.

Kyle Smith, 28, Branson, resigned from his teaching position September 1, 2015, 11 days after school officials began looking into allegations that he had sex with students.

The Taney County Sheriff's Office arrested Smith in February since evidence indicated Smith had sex with a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl, both Harrison High School students, at his Branson home.

The Smith case was one of the more difficult occurrences for Superintendent Melinda Moss during her seven-year tenure at Harrison. A teacher in the school system came across information about Smith and an underage girl and contacted the state's Crimes Against Children unit and Moss.

When the police arrived at the high school campus the following day to investigate, the school district had brought in Little Rock lawyer Cody Kees and was conducting its own investigation. Both Smith and the girl denied that anything had happened.

Moss immediately removed Smith from classroom duties and he was never with students again, despite allegations that were made in a lawsuit filed in May by fired teacher Andrea Pandarvis.

Despite his removal from the classroom and later resignation, the Harrison Police made no arrests following their initial investigation. School officials continued conducting their own investigation and eventually Smith's victims told school officials what had happened in Branson and that led to Smith's arrest.

One of the victims provided Harrison detectives with a dress she had kept which had stains that matched Smith's DNA.

Smith was charged with sodomy and statutory rape in Taney County in February. A federal grand jury indicted Smith earlier this year, leading to today's sentence.

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