Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith

The former deputy who was arrested on attempted rape and other charges maintained his innocence Thursday.

Former Grant County Sheriff’s Office deputy Tyler Smith pleaded not guilty to seven charges in a Grant County Circuit Court proceeding conducted by teleconference.

Smith, who was discharged by the sheriff’s office in January, was indicted Sept. 27 on charges of first-degree attempted rape, a class B felony, and attempted first-degree sex abuse and fourth-degree assault, class C felonies — all constituting domestic violence. The indictment accuses Smith of attempting to engage in sexual intercourse with his spouse on Aug. 31, 2018, “by forcible compulsion” and while knowing she was pregnant.

He also faces four class A misdemeanor charges of second-degree child neglect, accused of leaving two children under the age of 10 unattended at a John Day residence on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, according to information filed in court Sept. 10 by Grant County Special Deputy District Attorney Gretchen M. Ladd Dobler.

The felony and misdemeanor cases will be tried separately. The six-day felony trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 19. The two-day misdemeanor trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 4.

Hearings for pretrial motions are scheduled for May 14 and Aug. 14.

Senior Judge William D. Cramer Jr. said, should social distancing rules still be in place in October, the trial might need a larger venue, such as the Grant County Fairgrounds, where people can be 6 feet apart. He said he has not yet discussed this with Grant County officials.

Smith worked for the John Day Police Department from November 2014 until May 2016 when he was hired by the sheriff’s office.

Smith was arrested Sept. 9, but he had already been placed on administrative leave Aug. 9 for an unrelated issue, Grant County Human Resources Manager Laurie Wright said. Grant County District Attorney Jim Carpenter said Smith had been placed on leave “for issues related to the performance of his duties as a sheriff’s deputy.”

Reporter

Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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