AP NEWS

Suspect in child porn investigation taught special education in Aiken County for decades

February 21, 2019

Information released Wednesday shows the Aiken man arrested this week on 25 charges connected with child pornography worked with special needs children as a teacher in Aiken County for nearly 35 years.

Tracy Lee Smith, 61, of the 300 block of Old Friar Road, was arrested Monday following an investigation by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

He now faces 11 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and 14 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to jail records.

The Aiken County Public School District announced Wednesday that Smith was employed as a special education teacher from Oct. 1, 1981 to June 6, 2016.

Smith retired in 2016 from his teaching position where he provided services to students with “emotional disabilities in a self-contained setting,” according to a release.

The school district also noted that special education teachers, like Smith, would have had classified staff in their classrooms to assist with meeting the diverse needs of their students – meaning he would not have been left alone with the children he taught.

He also previously worked as a program specialist in the Department of Special Programs, serving in a coaching role in support of administrators and teachers.

Smith was arrested Monday following an investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, along with help from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, who uncovered a large collection of child pornography in his possession, which police say he also distributed to other people over the internet, according to a release from South Carolina Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday.

Police found a vast amount of disturbing videos containing children – ranging in ages from 3 to 15 years in age. The files found in Smith’s possession contained images of young children without clothes and engaging in sexually explicit acts.

The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.