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Ky. Man Faces 600 Charges For Calls From Jail

Its not just smuggled cell phones in prisons that can cause problems. This case shows how even approved telecommunications services in prisons can be used for inappropriate purposes.

A central Kentucky man faces 600 criminal counts charging he made phone calls from his jail cell to a girl younger than 16 who he is accused of raping.

A district judge on Wednesday sent the commonwealth’s case against 29-year-old Steven Smith to a Madison County grand jury.

Court records show Smith was charged on July 26 with prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor in a sex offense.

Madison County Detention Center Maj. Faye Winkler told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Smith allegedly used a phone card bought through the jail commissary to make the calls.

Valetta Browne, who was appointed to defend Smith in the rape case, was in court Thursday morning and did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Berea Police Department Sgt. Detective Lee Ann Boyle said the calls were made from Sept. 1 to July 14 and were recorded. Boyle said she obtained a log containing a record of each call.

Smith has an Aug. 22 trial date in Madison Circuit Court on the rape charge. The indictment last year says he also faces other charges including intimidating a witness for allegedly threatening the girl and her family “with bodily harm or death if they aided law enforcement in his prosecution.”

Court records show he also faced charges of terroristic threatening, being a persistent felony offender for second-degree escape in Fayette County and receiving stolen property and theft in Jefferson County.

Smith rejected a plea agreement last year on the charges because he objected to the description of the terroristic-threatening charge, which would have been dismissed along the persistent felony offender charge.

All charges were later reinstated.

Smith is lodged in the Madison County jail. His next court date in the rape case is Aug. 11.