SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – Following a five day jury trial, Galen Lee Smith, of Gold Hill was convicted this week by a jury in Rowan County Criminal Superior Court of 24 counts of felony sex offenses against a child, according to Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook.
Judge Christopher W. Bragg sentenced Smith to consecutive prison sentences totaling a minimum of 178.67 years to a maximum of 221.33 years. Judge Bragg also issued a permanent no-contact order between Smith and the victims.
In April 2011, law enforcement officers were notified by a family member of the victims that they had been molested by Smith when they were small children.
Through the follow-up investigation, detectives discovered the children were six to 13 years old in the late 1990s to early 2000s, when Smith had repeatedly molested them and forced them to perform sexual acts with him on a weekly basis.
The investigation revealed that Smith would force both victims to watch pornographic videos, and as he groomed the children, which is common in sexual offenses, Smith escalated his behavior eventually raping one of the young victims repeatedly.
In April 2011, one of the victims, at this time an adult, came forward due to concern about a younger family member. Upon hearing of the disclosure, the other victim, also an adult at this time, came forward in a separate interview with law enforcement. Smith was interviewed by law enforcement and stated he could not remember if he had touched the children due to an accident that occurred in 2009.
In a news release announcing the verdict and sentence, Cook stated that she appreciated the dedication of Assistant District Attorney Kristina Scally preparing the case for trial.
Cook stated that her office was able to hold Smith accountable for his criminal conduct due to the cooperation of the victims who testified before a jury.
Cook stated that it can be extremely difficult for victims of these types of offenses to come forward and testify in front of complete strangers, especially when the criminal acts involve a trusted family member. Cook stated that it is not uncommon for victims to disclose sexual acts that occurred at an earlier time and that her office continues to be committed to aggressively prosecuting offenders who take advantage of children.