WEBSTOCK In the Courts

An Amity Township man has been found guilty in Berks County Court of sexually abusing three girls over a period of more than a decade.

Robert L. Smith, 53, began abusing the girls, whom he knew, when they were 6 or 7, and threatened he'd hurt one of the girls' siblings if she reported him, prosecutors said.

Following a two-day trial before Judge M. Theresa Johnson, the jury convicted Smith on Wednesday on all 19 counts — 18 of which are felonies — including rape, corruption of minors and statutory sexual assault.

He will remain in the county prison awaiting sentencing, but first must be evaluated to determine if he is a sexually violent predator, prosecutors said.

The abuse occurred between February 2009 and December 2018, with each victim being assaulted numerous times.

Court documents gave this account:

On Feb. 20, 2019, county children and youth services relayed to the district attorney's office a report of three girls being sexually assaulted.

A county detective interviewed the victims on Feb. 22 and 23, 2019, and three days later charges were filed against Smith, who lived in St. Lawrence during some of the period of abuse.

During the interviews, one of the girls said Smith had repeatedly loaded a shotgun and held it to his head as a way to frighten and intimidate her.

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