SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A doctor who treated students for a Missouri boarding school accused of several child sex crimes has been taken into custody in Arkansas.
David Smock, 57, was captured Tuesday night in Harrison, Arkansas, not far from the Missouri state line. Authorities had considered him a fugitive for several days.
Court documents say Smock has been the longtime physician for Agape Boarding School, a Christian school that remains under scrutiny after five staffers were charged in September with assaulting students.
On December 21, a Cedar County special prosecutor with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office charged Smock with eight felony counts. Smock is facing one count of sexual misconduct involving a child, four counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, one count of second-degree attempted statutory sodomy, one count of fourth-degree child molestation, and one count of felony stalking.
Smock was also charged in Greene County on December 23 with second-degree statutory sodomy, third-degree child molestation of a child less than 14 years of age, and enticement or attempted enticement of a child less than 15 years of age.
Details surrounding the eight felony charges in Cedar County have been restricted by the judge assigned to the case. However, OzarksFirst was able to obtain the probable cause statement involving charges Smock faces in Greene County.
According to the statement, in October 2020 a boy told investigators with the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division he had been touched inappropriately by Smock when he was 13 years old and Smock was 56 years old. The boy reported the abuse had happened on or between August 2018 and August 2019.
Court documents say the boy’s mother worked at Agape Boarding School and first had contact with Smock in 2013 or 2014. He was never enrolled at the school.
During a forensic interview in October 2020, the boy told investigators Smock had been grooming him for years. According to the court document Smock would do so by “inviting him over to his home located in Jerico Springs where he would play video games, use the gym and basketball court, purchasing a cell phone for him, providing gifts, money, and promised cars once he turned 16 years of age.”
The probable cause statement says Smock also took the boy and his family on outings to arcades, as well as places like the Silver Dollar City amusement park and Incredible Pizza. The boy reported Smock became a “father figure” to him, hosting birthday parties for him when he turned 12, 13, and 14 years old.
Court documents say Smock eventually convinced the child’s mother to allow him to move into his home in Jerico Springs. The child lived there from the age of 13 until just before his 15th birthday.
When the boy was 13, he traveled to Springfield with Smock to help him clean a rental property Smock owned, according to the court document. The boy reported to authorities in 2020 that when cleaning, Smock told him to pull his pants down. Smock then touched him inappropriately, he said.
On Wednesday, OzarksFirst spoke with a former Agape student turned victim’s advocate about the abuse he witness at the school.
Colton Shrag spent nearly five years at Agape Boarding School. He says he was not surprised to hear what Smock is being accused of.
“He’s a doctor so he’s in a trusted, he’s got a role where he should be helping people reporting abuse, and he’s the one out there abusing kids in such severe way that you know, it’s just unspeakable,” Shrag says. “If it got a prominent doctor like Dr. Smock involved in this mess and who knows who else is.”
Another victim’s advocate, Amanda Householder, says she remembers seeing Dr. Smock at Agape in the early 2000s.
“The boys looked sad standing outside waiting for their physical exam to happen,” she tells OzarksFirst.
Householder is the daughter of Boyd and Stephanie Householder, who got their start at Agape before opening the now-defunct Circle of Hope Girl’s Ranch in Cedar County.
Amanda says she’s grateful the boy is speaking up about the alleged abuse, providing hope for potentially countless other victims whose statute of limitations has run out.
“If I could talk to this kid, this person, I don’t think I would be able to express my gratitude because like some people talking about Dr. Smock, even in the eighties, if remember correctly,” Householder adds.
The probable cause statement for the charges Smock faces in Greene County also lists five instances where Smock had been investigated for inappropriate behavior with minors in Gonzales, California in 2007, as well as in Yuma, Arizona in 1996 and 1997. In 1988, Smock was also identified as a suspect in a child molestation investigation. He was never officially charged for any of the out-of-state investigations.
“The boys were going to him, and he is a mandatory reporter and he wasn’t reporting it. If anything, that to me shows that he was helping Agape cover up their abuse,” says Householder.
Smock’s attorney told OzarksFirst on Wednesday Smock had intended on turning himself into authorities but was visiting family for the holiday when the charges were filed. The attorney says U.S. Marshals located and arrested Smock on Tuesday.
Smock was scheduled for a hearing Wednesday morning in Greene County, but a motion for bond was continued until Tuesday, January 4 due to the judge being out of the office. He is scheduled for another bond hearing involving charges he faces in Cedar County on Monday, January 3.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.