Indictment: Ex-judge sexually assaulted women seeking help with traffic violations 


A former Hart County probate judge was indicted Thursday on allegations he forcibly kissed and groped three women, who asked for assistance in reducing or eliminating their traffic charges and subsequent punishments, U.S. Attorney General Charles E. Peeler said in a news release. 

Bobby Joe Smith, 77, of Hartwell, faces one count of bribery and three counts of civil rights violations in the alleged sexual assaults committed between May 2013 and May 2014. None of the women consented to Smith’s advances. 

RELATED: Report raises questions about truth of Shafer sex harassment complaint

In the first alleged assault, which initially began in May 2013, the woman sought Smith’s help with three separate traffic incidents — including a DUI charge believed to be her third. Smith told her she’d be on “private probation” with him and required her to report to his office regularly to make cash payments to him, according to the indictment. 

In several of their meetings, Smith allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, including one incident in which it’s suspected he put his hands down her skirt and grabbed her while she was holding her young niece. The woman’s traffic charges and fines were eventually reduced by Smith, who resigned in May 2014 following his arrest in the allegations, according to the Athens Banner-Herald

Officials say Smith continued with the assaults in October 2013, touching a second woman on her breasts and attempting to “put his hand underneath her shirt to touch her breast,” according to the indictment. On one occasion, Smith allegedly showed the woman his genitals and forced her to touch them. The victim pulled her hand away. Smith tried to unzip her pants, the indictment alleges, but the woman backed away. 

ALSO: Tex McIver masseuse responds to affair rumors: ‘1,000 percent never!’

During their meetings, Smith would lock the door to his chambers and blocked the woman from leaving, according to the indictment. On another occasion, Smith allegedly called the woman and asked her if she knew a place where they could have sex. 

The victim was sentenced for her traffic violations by another judge in August 2016. 

The third victim approached Smith in May 2014 regarding a “super speeder” ticket she received in Bryan County. Smith called the Bryan County probate court and falsely told the person who answered that the victim was his granddaughter, according to the indictment. Once the conversation ended, Smith told the woman he’d contact her if he heard back from the county about the charges. 

When she got up to leave, Smith leaned in for a kiss on the lips and touched the woman’s breasts, the indictment alleges. As she pulled away, Smith’s grip tightened around her. The woman told Smith “no,” managing to get out of his grip. 

She left the office and did not meet with him again. Her charges were resolved by a Bryan County judge in May 2015. 

Smith is expected to have his initial court appearance April 25. 

In other news:



Next Up in Local

More than half Gwinnett property owners to see property value change
More than half Gwinnett property owners to see property value change

The Gwinnett County Board of Assessors have mailed approximately 280,000 annual notices of assessment to residential and commercial property owners. The annual notice includes an estimate of 2018 property taxes, but it is not a tax bill. The current year’s value will be the value used by the tax commissioner in calculating property taxes later...
Queen Elizabeth's last corgi dog put down
Queen Elizabeth's last corgi dog put down

The last of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis was put to sleep after a long struggle with cancer, The Daily Mail reported. The dog, Willow, was nearly 15. That means that for the first time since World War II, the Queen, 91, does not have a corgi in her household. Monty Roberts told Vanity Fair she didn’t want to have any more young...
Unauthorized field trip could cost Ohio high school teacher her job
Unauthorized field trip could cost Ohio high school teacher her job

An Ohio high school teacher is facing possible termination for taking 50 students on a college visit in March that was not approved by the school. The future employment of Trotwood High School teacher Khalilah Forte will be considered by the Trotwood City School Board in a special meeting Thursday. According to documents from last week&rsquo...
Driver strips naked, dances in street after causing 5-car pileup, police say
Driver strips naked, dances in street after causing 5-car pileup, police say

A man who allegedly created a five-car crash in suburban Detroit ended with him getting out of his car, taking off his clothes and dancing in the street, police said. One person was injured in the pileup, which occurred Tuesday in Westland, Michigan. Police said a pickup truck hit the other vehicles, and the man driving it got out and began dancing...
Uber-style service delivers hot meals to inmates at Georgia county jail
Uber-style service delivers hot meals to inmates at Georgia county jail

A Georgia sheriff says that he runs the toughest jail in the area, but some residents question how tough Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s jail really is. A company called Outside Inside Connection allows families to send inmates hot, gourmet meals to the jail. Items on the menu include jalapeno burgers, beefy nachos and Philly cheesesteaks...
More Stories