Originally created 06/03/04

Man sought in molestations

AIKEN - Authorities are looking for an Orangeburg County man suspected of molesting five children between the ages of 4 and 9 last year in Aiken County.

Cleo E. Smith, 58, is wanted on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, lewd acts upon a minor, engaging a child in sexual performance and disseminating obscene material to a minor, Aiken County Sheriff's Office officials said.

Sgt. David Blevins, a sheriff's office investigator, said Mr. Smith last lived in a rented home in Holly Hill in eastern Orangeburg County and is believed to be commuting between the Summerville area and Charleston.

Warrants issued by Aiken County authorities in April charge that between May and December 2003, Mr. Smith sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl, fondled various victims on seven occasions, permitted children to view pornographic magazines and movies and induced a 9-year-old boy to perform a sexual act on a 5-year-old girl.

At the time, Mr. Smith lived in the home of an acquaintance in Aiken County, near the Edgefield County town of Trenton, Lt. Blevins said. Two victims lived in the home; the other three were visitors, authorities said.

Mr. Smith is unemployed and lives on a disability pension from the Army, Sgt. Blevins said. He was kicked out of the Aiken County home Dec. 30 when the allegations came to the attention of adults in the home, and he spent about two weeks in Orangeburg County before disappearing, Sgt. Blevins said. He does not have any previous criminal convictions.

Mr. Smith is about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 210 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He was last seen driving a blue compact car similar in body type to a Chevrolet Cavalier. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Aiken County Sheriff's Office at (800) 922-9709.

Reach Stephen Gurr at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110.


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