SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri boarding school doctor accused of several child sex crimes has been taken into custody in Arkansas.
The Kansas City Star reports that 57-year-old David Smock was arrested Tuesday night in Harrison, Arkansas, not far from the Missouri border. Authorities said they considered him a fugitive for several days.
However, Smock's attorney said Wednesday that his client had been returning to Missouri to turn himself in when he was arrested. He was visiting his son in Louisiana when he learned of the charges, attorney Craig Heidemann said.
Smock began feeling ill on his return to Missouri and tested positive for COVID-19 at the Arkansas jail, said Heidemann, who was representing Smock on charges filed in Cedar County.
“Dr. Smock’s concern is that law enforcement has wrongly painted him as a fugitive when in fact he’s a COVID victim trying to get back to deal with these charges,” Heidemann said.
Smock is the longtime physician for Agape Boarding School, a Christian school that remains under scrutiny after five other employees were charged in September with assaulting students, amounting to a total of 13 third-degree felony assault counts. The school is in Stockton, in Cedar County.
The Missouri Attorney General’s office last week filed eight felony charges against Smock in Cedar County, including four counts of statutory sodomy or attempted sodomy involving a child younger than 14; and one count of second-degree statutory sodomy or attempted sodomy. He also was charged with one count each of sexual misconduct involving a child younger than 15, fourth-degree molestation of a child younger than 17, and first-degree stalking.
Smock was also charged Dec. 23 in Greene County with second-degree statutory sodomy, third-degree child molestation of a child less than 14 years of age and enticement or attempted enticement of a child less than 15 years of age, court records show. According to a probable cause affidavit, this charge related to Smock’s alleged grooming and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy at a rental home owned by the doctor in Springfield.