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State drops same-sex rape case brought by homophobic deputy

September 9, 2019

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors are dropping same-sex rape charges in a case investigated by a homophobic deputy who gave sermons as a Baptist church pastor calling for the execution of gay people.

Assistant District Attorney General Sean McDermott tells the Knoxville News Sentinel that former Knox County sheriff’s detective Grayson Fritts’ involvement factored in the decision, as they wouldn’t have him testify. Other cases involving Fritts also are being reviewed after his hate-filled sermons came to light this summer.

Shawn Lee Smith was indicted on rape and sexual battery charges in a 2015 attack at a hotel. He was accused of luring the victim there by hiring him to work in a massage therapy business. A mistrial was declared on the sex-related charges; He was convicted of impersonating a licensed professional.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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