The Grundy County Sheriff’s Office arrested William E. “Tim” Smith, Jr., 48, for Rape of a Child, Possession of Legend Drugs, and Possession of Schedule II Drugs, on May 31.
Sheriff Clint Shrum explained that Smith, Jr. was taken into custody after Sheriff’s investigators found him and a 12-year old female in a remote wooded area engaged in sexual conduct in Smith’s truck. He was also found in possession of Legend and Schedule II prescription drugs.
According to the report, Smith, Jr. identified himself as the pastor of a church in Palmer, the Palmer Church of God.
“This is very disturbing and heartbreaking,” stated Sheriff Shrum. Bond has not been set. Smith, Jr. has an initial court date of July 12.
The arrest report states that the incident occurred in Gruetli-Laager, near Ross Creek Road. The arresting officers, Sergeant Investigator Larry Sims and Captain Josh King, were on Ross Creek Road looking for a stolen four wheeler when they decided to check an area that had issues with drug use and selling. When pulling up to the area, they saw a maroon Chevrolet pickup truck. It appeared no one was in the vehicle, but deputies noticed the vehicle was running. They saw an arm raise up and confirmed someone was in the vehicle.
When deputies approached the vehicle, they saw a male and female lying down in the seat. When deputies knocked on the window, the male, who was laying on top of the female, jumped up and tried to pull up his pants. The female tried to pull her skirt down. The deputies noticed the female appeared young and asked her age. The male answered that she was 18. The male then tried to persuade the female to tell the deputies she was 18. The female then stated she was 13.
Deputies found several different pills in a pill bottle in the male’s pants. The male was identified as William Smith and said he was the pastor of the Church of God in Palmer.
“Mr. Smith was placed under arrest and read his Miranda warnings at that time. Mr. Smith only stated that he had done nothing wrong and showed no remorse about the situation.”
With further questioning, the female stated she was 12.
When interviewed by deputies at the Sheriff’s Office (with the permission of her grandparents) the female stated that she and a cousin went riding with Smith to Ramsey’s Lake for several hours. They took her cousin home and went to Smith’s house to pick up another truck so that he “could go to Winchester and get brake pads for his vehicle.” The female stated Smith was supposed to drop her off at home.
The female further said, “Smith stated he had to use the restroom and drove down Ross Creek Road,” where they were later located by the Sheriff’s Deputies.
“The female stated he (Smith) got out of the vehicle to use the restroom. When he got back in he began grabbing her by the mid-section and pulled her down into the seat. He then got on top of her and tried to kiss her but she would not allow it to happen. Mr. Smith then began rubbing on her breast underneath her shirt and pulled her skirt up. She states that is when I (Sims) knocked on the window. She also states she was not aware of his pants being pulled down until he jumped up and began pulling them up.
DCS has been notified and is investigating the incident.
Suspended of duties
The Tennessee Church of God State Offices (TN COG) confirms Smith is the pastor of Palmer Church of God and says Smith has been suspended from all ministerial activities,
The TN COG issued the following statement:
“On June 1, 2018, Tennessee Church of God State Office officials were informed that William E. “Tim” Smith, Jr., pastor of the Palmer Church of God in Palmer, Tennessee, has been charged with attempted rape of a child.
“In keeping with the ecclesiastical polity of Church of God, the Tennessee Church of God Administrative Bishop, Reverend Mitchell E. Corder, Jr., has placed Tim Smith, Jr., on administrative leave and suspended him from all ministerial activities on June 1, 2018, pending investigation and disposition of these charges.
“Our concern and prayers go out to all involved in this matter.”
Smith’s Facebook page was still active on Friday and listed him as a 1993 graduate of Grundy County High School.