Investigators Believe Ex-Harlan Resident Molested Others

Investigators in a sexual abuse case involving a former Harlan, Iowa man believe there are more victims out there.

Sixty-eight-year-old Bobby Smith of Eldorado, Missouri has been charged with three counts of third-degree sexual abuse. The alleged victim is from Harlan and claims the abuse happened 14 years ago at a Council Bluffs motel.

Smith is being held at the Pottawattamie County Jail, accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy. It's something that just doesn’t happen in a small town like Harlan, but the alleged victim says he was taken away from this small town in 1998 when he was 12 and sexually abused.

At the time, Smith was the teacher of the Midweek Children’s Program at First Baptist Church in Harlan. Pastor Dan Hawn has been with the church for two years. “Once he was arrested and it was public knowledge, we then sent a letter to our church family to inform them of the allegations and make them aware."

“We were really saddened by what we had heard,” said Terry Arentson with First Baptist Church. “You don’t expect things to happen in Harlan, Iowa and it’s very unusual and it’s a difficult time for us.”

Officials believe there could be more victims, based on what Smith has told authorities. “Yes,” said Pottawattamie County Attorney Shelly Sedlak, when asked if Smith has indicated there were more victims.

That’s why the county attorney’s office has invited media attention in the case. There could be unidentified victims in the Shelby County area or Harlan where Smith previously lived.

His trial is scheduled to start in November.


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