‘Those children went through hell:’ 50 years in prison for man convicted of sexually assaulting 2 kids

David Smith

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man convicted of sexually assaulting two children in his care has been sentenced to prison.

David Smith, 33, in November of 2018 was found guilty by a jury — convicted on three counts:

  • First degree sexual assault of a child (sexual intercourse, child under the age of 12)
  • Repeated sexual assault of same child (three or more violations of statute)
  • First degree sexual assault, sexual contact with a child under 13

In court on Thursday, Feb. 14, Smith was sentenced to serve a total of 50 years in prison and 30 years extended supervision, with credit for 233 days time served.

Smith’s girlfriend/fiancee, Velma Harris, in October of 2018 pleaded no contest to a charge of fail to act/sexual assault of a child. In November of 2018, she was sentenced to serve three years and six months in prison, and three years and six months extended supervision, with credit for 149 days time served.

Velma Harris

When Harris was sentenced, the judge said in his 15 years on the bench, he had never seen anyone fail to protect children from harm like this.

“It was a terrible environment, and certainly those children went through hell. A grown adult was having sex with her, a 10-year-old, and (Velma Harris) allowed this defendant to continue to reside in the home, and that he continued to sexually assault her,” the prosecutor said.

“I’m not perfect at all. I’d do anything to protect them. Anything,” said Harris during her sentencing hearing.

A criminal complaint said one victim in this case, who was 12 when charges were filed, indicated Smith “had sex with her on multiple occasions.” Police responded to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in October of 2017, where they learned of the alleged assault. The child said she was 10 years old when the assault happened.

The complaint said a second child, who was 11 when charges were filed told investigators Smith also sexually assaulted her, indicating “it happens almost all the time when Harris leaves.” She said she was “scared to tell” because she would get in trouble.

“Not only did they go through hell, but you stood by and watched as they went through hell. There is no amount of therapy that will get her over the trauma that she has been put through,” said Judge David Borowski during Harris’ sentencing hearing.

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