UM employee charged with molesting 2-year-old

Published 12:34 am Sunday, March 15, 2009

A University of Mississippi employee has been indicted on charges he molested a 2-year-old.

Lee Eric Smith, 39, a communication specialist for the Media and Public Relations Department, is charged with one count each of sexual battery and touching a child for lustful purposes, said District Attorney Ben Creekmore.

Creekmore said Smith pleaded not guilty. He posted a $20,000 bond.

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Smith’s wife reported the alleged abuse in September to authorities with the Mississippi Department of Human Services after she discovered her husband wearing an open robe and touching the child inappropriately, said Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin.

Martin said a doctor verified that the child had injuries consistent with sexual abuse.

The alleged abuse happened from July to September 2008, Martin said.

Contacted Friday at the university, Smith declined to comment “under my attorney’s advice.”

His attorney did not immediately respond to a message.

Smith was the first black editor of the student paper, The Daily Mississippi, in the 1990s.