The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
Bobby Cornealius Smith, pastor of New Beginnings Ministries in Las Vegas, Nevada, stands accused of eleven felony charges, including nine counts of sexual assault, one count of attempted sexual assault, and one count of child abuse, neglect, or endangerment. His wife, Lashawn Nicole Smith, was also indicted on two felony charges including sexual assault and child abuse, neglect, or endangerment.
A Las Vegas pastor is accused of sexually assaulting three women including one family member and two women who he referred to as “God daughters.”
Bobby Cornealius Smith, 46, was indicted by a grand jury for eleven felony charges, including nine counts of sexual assault, one count of attempted sexual assault, and one count of child abuse, neglect, or endangerment.
A woman identified as his wife, Lashawn Nicole Smith was also indicted on two felony charges including sexual assault and child abuse, neglect, or endangerment.
Bobby Smith is the pastor of New Beginnings Ministries and his wife is the “First Lady” of the church, according to the church’s website.
A family member testified in front of the grand jury that Smith forced her to use sex toys multiple times starting when she was 17 years old and a senior in high school, according to transcripts obtained by the 8newsnow.com Investigators. She said that Bobby Smith told her, “God is telling me that it is important for you to do this,” and insisted that the sex toys would prevent her from ruining her life and giving into “urges.” Smith later showed her how to use the toy and would tell her to meet him at hotels, she said.
The woman testified that she had reported what had happened to Lashawn Nicole Smith who failed to contact the police.
A second woman who said that she was a member of the church testified that Bobby Smith begged her to perform oral sex on him. He blocked a stairway and dropped his pants, she said. She testified that she panicked and eventually pushed him off.
A third woman testified that her family became involved with New Beginnings Ministries when she was 16 years old. At 17, she said, Bobby Smith texted her a photo of a sex toy. She told him that she did not want to use it. Bobby Smith later brought up the sex toy again, telling her that sex toys are not a sin and that he wanted to show her how to use one, she said.
The woman said that Bobby Smith would then use the sex toy on her at various locations including at least two Las Vegas area hotels. After telling Smith’s wife, the woman says she received a text message from Bobby Smith stating “…you guys want to paint me to be like this monster or like I’m doing something wrong when I’m just trying to help you all.”
She said that Bobby Smith requested a meeting and when she showed up, he and his wife were both there and he told her to perform sexual acts with his wife.
North Las Vegas Police started investigating the allegations against the pastor after the first alleged victim made a report, according to Detective Ashley Bertschy. She had learned that the third alleged victim had reported what had happened in 2014 and that she had been examined by a nurse at University Medical Center who also collected a rape kit. Bertschy testified that Las Vegas Metro Police had closed the case and she reopened it.
Police executed a search warrant at the Smiths’ home in North Las Vegas and found over 20 sex toys, according to Bertschy.
A jury trial is set for Bobby Smith on July 17. Jail records show that he remains in the Clark County Detention Center. His bond is set at $225,000.
Lashawn Nicole Smith is currently out of custody. No trial date has been set for her.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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