Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, Jan. 28 @ 3:41 p.m. / Crime
Hearing In Daniel Smithson Sex Abuse Case Continued To Thursday; Charter School Custodian Has Yet To Enter Plea
A charter school custodian accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor appeared before a Del Norte County judge on Tuesday, but has yet to enter a plea.
Daniel Aiken Smithson, 41, told Judge William Follett he wanted to obtain his own attorney, District Attorney Katherine Micks told the Wild Rivers Outpost. Follett also scheduled a bail review hearing for Thursday in response to Smithson’s preference to seek his own counsel, Micks said.
Smithson is still in custody at the Del Norte County Jail and his bail is set at $500,000, according to Micks.
Del Norte County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Smithson on Sunday. Smithson, who has worked at Uncharted Shores Academy for about six years, has been charged with oral copulation; contacting a minor with intent to commit a sex crime; arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual purpose; continuous sexual abuse of a child; sexual penetration with a foreign object of a victim under 14; annoying a child under 18; and annoying/molesting a child under 18.
During Smithson’s arraignment Tuesday, Follett issued a protective order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the victim.
Follett also asked Del Norte County probation to prepare a report on whether Smithson could be released on his own recognizance. Follett also said that while he did not know Smithson, he knew Smithson’s family who was in the courtroom Monday.
In addition to serving as the school’s custodian, Smithson also teaches electives, art, Chess and Dungeons and Dragons, according to USA’s website. Smithson has been placed on administrative leave, USA Executive Director Margie Rouge told the Wild Rivers on Monday.
Rouge told the Outpost that the charges against Smithson do not involve the school nor the children at the school. Another staff person is taking over Smithson’s custodial duties and his elective classes have been cancelled, Rouge said.
Rouge also confirmed Monday that Daniel Smithson is the son of Shari Smithson, the school’s education director.
Daniel Smithson will be back in court at 1:10 p.m. Thursday, according to Micks.