Teen-sex suspect denied lower bail

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]

WILKES-BARRE — On the run for more than a month, Philip Smith played a “cat and mouse” game with authorities, a Luzerne County prosecutor said Friday.

Smith, 42, was captured April 2 when U.S. Marshals nabbed him at a residence on South Empire Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Police obtained a warrant for his arrest Feb. 26, charging Smith with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl multiple times in August 2017 in Pittston.

Appearing before District Judge James Dixon at a preliminary hearing Friday, Smith waived his right to the proceeding. That meant charges of statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors were sent to county court, where Smith is expected to plead guilty at a later date.

Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza withdrew charges of aggravated incident assault and indecent assault.

Sperrazza noted if Smith does not plead guilty under the agreement, the charges that were withdrawn will be reinstated for trial.

Smith’s attorney, Matthew L. Clemente, requested Smith’s bail of $300,000 be modified or lowered. Clemente said Smith, if released, would reside with his sister on South Empire Street.

Sperrazza objected to any bail modification, telling Judge Dixon that Smith was aware he was wanted, played a “cat and mouse” game with authorities for more than a month, and continued to post comments on Facebook while he was being sought.

Dixon denied to lower Smith’s bail.


By Ed Lewis

[email protected]