KNOXVILLE — Jake Christian Smith, 19, pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual abuse, with sentencing set for July.
Smith was accused of engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old girl in February. The encounter was recorded on a laptop computer, and distributed to others.
"I engaged in a sex act with a minor," Smith told Judge John Lloyd. "It was oral sex. I permitted her to do it, knowing she was underage."
While pleading guilty, Marion County Attorney Ed Bull asked Smith if the defendant had asked someone to record the act. Smith said he did and that the minor was unaware that she was being recorded.
The hearing was originally scheduled to be a request for a bond reduction. Smith conferenced with his attorney, Dawn Bowman, prior to pleading guilty. The motion for a bond reduction was withdrawn, and he proceeded to plead guilty.
As with any time a criminal defendant chooses to plead guilty, Lloyd read Smith a litany of questions to confirm his guilt. Lloyd was convinced of Smith's guilt and accepted the plea. Smith also understood the many rights he waived by pleading guilty.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 12 at 9:30 a.m. A presentence investigation was ordered. Bull has said the state will seek to incarcerate Smith for 10 years per count, to run consecutively, which would keep Smith in prison for 20 years. Ten years per count is the maximum, but the actual sentence will be left to the discretion of the sentencing judge.