Missing victim results in lesser charge in sex case

2013-07-26T11:55:00Z 2013-07-26T23:27:05Z Missing victim results in lesser charge in sex caseBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | A Portage man, who has spent more than a year behind bars on a charge of criminal deviate conduct, pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser count of arranging for the alleged victim not to cooperate with investigators.

Jason Smith, 38, pleaded guilty to a D felony count of obstruction of justice and was sentenced to three years behind bars.

As a result of time already served and other credit, he will be released in 19 days, according to his public defender Mitch Peters.

Smith was accused of touching an 18-year-old woman against her will and had been facing a B felony charge.

He told the court Friday he spoke with his fiancee from the jail and conveyed to her the plan to interview the purported victim, who then failed to show up three times and has since been in hiding.

Peters said the evidence in the case was controversial already.

The case was to go to trial in a couple weeks.

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