Man faces up to 25 years in prison on sex charges

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By Tom Wilmoth

    A 19-year-old Bedford man faces up to 25 years in jail after being found guilty on three sex offense charges involving two different juvenile girls.

    Jesse Lee Smith entered no contest pleas in Bedford County Circuit Court Friday to a charge of taking indecent liberties with a minor as well as for computer solicitation and carnal knowledge.
    All of the charges involve crimes that occurred in 2011.
    The indecent liberties charge involves a sexual encounter Smith had with a then 15-year-old girl in Montvale. The charge came after the girl told police about the contact, stating he had forced her to have sex with him. Smith, however, said the incident had been consensual, a fact that two other juveniles who were at the home when it occurred would not be able to dispute, according to Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance.
    The two other charges involve a 13-year-old girl and included Smith exposing himself to the girl sexually through a video chat, and him asking her to do so herself. The carnal knowledge charge was the result of an encounter he had with the girl at her home, according to Nance.
    He said software that had been placed on the girl's computer captured the chat and screen shots from the video that led to the charges. Nance said the girl cooperated in the investigation.
    Smith was already being held in jail on an unrelated charge. A presentence report will be conducted prior to Smith's sentencing, which has yet to be set.
    Competency tests found Smith able to stand trial on the charges.