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Online encounter leads to rape charge

GATESVILLE – What started as an alleged encounter on a popular Internet site has ended with a charge of rape.

A Chesapeake, Va. teen is free on bond following his arrest here on second degree rape charges.

Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb reported that Kenneth Robert Smith, 19, voluntarily surrendered to arrest on Jan. 4 in connection with a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old Gates County girl.

Smith’s original bond was set at $30,000 secured, but was reduced to $15,000 cash following a plea entered by his attorney.

Sheriff Webb said the two teens apparently met on MySpace, a social networking website popular among young people.

“They began talking back and forth on MySpace,” Webb said. “That led to the young girl riding with friends to Chesapeake Square Mall where Mr. Smith worked. They chatted face-to-face during that visit and, later, the young man came to the girl’s residence in the early morning hours of Jan. 2 where the sexual act apparently took place.”

Webb added that the girl’s father came in and found a man in a bedroom with his daughter. The man (later identified as Smith) fled at that point and the father immediately contacted the Sheriff’s Office, Webb said.

The girl was taken to Albemarle Hospital later on Jan. 2 where she was treated and released. While there, Webb said hospital staff used an SBI Rape Kit to determine if sexual intercourse took place.

“We then interviewed the young girl and her father,” Webb said. “After learning the suspect’s identity, we contacted him and he came to our office and surrendered on Jan. 4.”

Smith’s next scheduled court date is March 3.