Sunday, August 16, 2009
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE - The last of six metro Atlanta men said to have molested a 12-year-old girl found on a Web sex ad could face a jury this week.
Jury selection is expected Monday in the trial of Brenton Smith, 25, charged with statutory rape and child molestation following his August 2006 arrest.
Prosecutors believe Smith, an Atlanta college student at the time, was among six men who periodically responded to an online advertisement offering to arrange sex with an 18-year-old girl in Duluth.
The girl, however, was only 12, which authorities say the men realized upon their arrival but had sex with her regardless.
The meetings were arranged by a family friend of the victim, Wilbur Caldwell, of Duluth. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to manufacturing child pornography and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
The arrests capped a months-long, joint investigation by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department and the FBI.
Smith is the second of the six suspects to fight the charges against him.
A jury found co-defendant Georgia Disabato, a 55-year-old real estate appraiser from Grayson, guilty in July last year. Disabato was later sentenced to 20 years in prison but has filed a motion for a new trial, according to court records.
Four others pleaded guilty and were sentenced to between five and 20 years in prison.