Trial set for former teacher accused of rape
A former Lake Charles Charter Academy teacher charged with raping a 10-year-old student will be heading to trial on April 5 in state district court.
Deidre Rae Smith, 36, of Sulphur, appeared in court Thursday before Judge Mike Canaday.
Smith, who has been out on bond since last year, was in court for a continuance to be set in her case as well as important dates to be scheduled, including a pre-trial conference on March 11 and her April trial date.
It was also revealed in open court that there is a plea deal from the state that has been presented to Smith but she has not accepted or declined the offer and no specific terms of the plea were mentioned in court.
If found guilty at trial of the rape charge, the sentence Smith would face is life in prison.
According to authorities, the original investigation of Smith began in April of 2019 when the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from an administrator at Lake Charles Charter Academy.
Detectives said Smith had been having inappropriate contact with the victim since the end of 2018, and that Smith allegedly had sexual intercourse with the victim.
Adam Johnson, one of her attorneys (along with Todd S. Clemons), represented Smith in court on Thursday.
Denisse Paralles is the prosecutor for this case and she was also in court.
All parties agreed to the continuance as well as the upcoming court dates for Smith.
In Dec. 2019, Smith had her bond lowered from $1.3 million to $750,000 during a court appearance before Canaday. Smith pleaded not guilty in August of 2019 to eight counts of first-degree rape; seven counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile; and two counts of sexual battery of a victim under the age of 13.
She was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on May 1, 2019, on charges of first-degree rape and felony indecent behavior with a juvenile. Smith was released at that time on a $50,000 bond set by Judge Robert Wyatt.
After an investigation, Smith was re-arrested the next month, in June of 2019, for additional alleged incidents with the victim. At that time, Smith was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on nine counts of first-degree rape, five counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, two counts of sexual battery and one count of oral sexual battery. Judge Guy Bradberry set Smith’s bond at $1.3 million.
In August of that year, Smith was re-arrested after an investigation revealed additional incidents that authorities said took place in Beauregard Parish. Smith was taken from the Calcasieu Correctional Center to Beauregard Parish to face those charges and then brought back and re-booked into the Correctional Center.
At some point after her bond was lowered, Smith bonded out of the Correctional Center and has been awaiting trial on her charges.
Special to the American Press