That a charismatic pastor of an Irving nondenominational church had sex with at least three women in his tiny congregation was never in dispute during Steven G. Smith's trial. Mr. Smith's own attorneys called his adulterous behavior "sad and distasteful" but argued he was not guilty of sexual assault because the relationships were consensual. A jury disagreed Thursday, finding Mr. Smith guilty after deciding under a rarely used 1996 law that the women were unwilling participants because Mr. Smith exploited the emotional dependence he held over them as their pastor. "That was the way he treated the women in his church," prosecutors Josh Healy said during closing arguments. "He'd use the Bible. He'd use God's word to prey on these women."
Posted by Editor at September 30, 2005 07:20 AM