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Two sex crime cases dismissed in Nevada County Superior Court

Two unrelated sex crime cases scheduled for hearings this week in Nevada County Superior Court were dismissed because the alleged victims were uncooperative, prosecutors said.

A reported rape that drew a lot of attention on social media this summer was one of the cases, although Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said charges against suspect Christopher John Smith could be re-filed in the future.

Smith’s’s defense attorney, J. Lon Cooper, declined to comment on the case.



Smith, 31, was arrested in Kings County after authorities say he fled the area following a July 3 report that he had raped a Penn Valley 18 year old in Western Gateway Park. According to a press release issued by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office at the time, the woman reported having been sexually assaulted at the park by a man she had befriended earlier in the day.

Smith also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear for mental health court on June 22, court records state. The warrant stemmed from a 2017 felony spousal abuse case, as well as arrests for misdemeanor child endangerment in 2018 and misdemeanor battery in 2019.



Court records state Smith was booked into custody in the Nevada County Jail on one count of forcible rape on July 14 and was set for a preliminary hearing into the evidence against him Monday. That case was dismissed, but he still has multiple pending cases and remained in custody Thursday.

“The alleged victim was uncooperative and was unwilling to come to court and testify,” Walsh said in an email. “I don’t want to speculate as to reasons why the victim was uncooperative. The District Attorney’s Office communicated with the alleged victim extensively and made it clear the case would be dismissed if she didn’t come to court. We also offered the alleged victim support services and counseling. Our system justly affords the accused the right to confront the witnesses against them, as history has shown cross examination to be critical towards seeking the truth.”

A charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor was dismissed against Travis Curran as well. Curran, 42, had been arrested in March 2019 after Child Protective Services notified authorities that a 16-year-old girl who was a friend of the family accused him of having sex with her.

Curran appeared in court Tuesday for the preliminary hearing into the evidence against him, but Judge Scott Thomsen dismissed the case after Deputy District Attorney Helenaz Hill said she could not contact the alleged victim.

Defense attorney Larry Montgomery, who represents Curran, said he concurred with Hill’s decision to drop the charge against his client.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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