Update: Yesterday, when we told you about the arrest of Robert Richard Beattie Smith on suspicion of sexual assault while posing as a massage therapist (see our previous coverage below), we noted that Aurora police feared the existence of additional victims. Apparently, they were right: Five women have contacted investigators to say they, too, were violated -- and authorities in California, where Smith was wanted for a similar crime, believe it's likely he left more victims in that state as well. Additionally, new information has been released about the Colorado crimes that spurred the Smith bust -- and it's disturbing. Continue for photos, videos and details.
See also: Shouchun Han, Massage Pro Accused of Sex Assault: Thinking About His Own Happy Ending?, published October 2010
An arrest report obtained by 7News reveals that the fifteen-year-old girl who helped lead to Smith's capture had posted about her loss of a job and need for employment on Craigslist. Smith subsequently called her, identifying himself as Richard, and explaining that he was accumulating hours toward certification as a practical massage therapist -- and he offered to pay her $30 if she'd help him out. He allegedly made the same deal to the teen's sister, age 21.
Before Smith's arrival at their home, the sisters told police he "asked for body photos of them and suggested clothing was optional and that he needed to see their body type for massage purposes," the report states. They responded by sending photos of themselves in their underwear but without their faces and declined his requests for new images showing their heads, too.
For the massage itself, the teen shed all but her panties, and things allegedly began to get sexual despite the fact that the girls' father was home at the time; he's said to have stuck his head in the door at one point but saw nothing out of the ordinary.
Afterward, the traumatized teen told her sister the massage was "going to be weird" and "she probably would not like it," but didn't go into specifics; she spent the next few minutes crying by herself in a nearby bathroom. But the sister figured out what she meant when Smith began rubbing her inner thigh. Then, the teen texted her sister and asked her to come to the bathroom, where she said she wanted Richard to leave right away, $30 or no $30.
Moments later, Smith split -- but the sisters were able to give members of the Aurora Police Department a photo from Craigslist, and using facial recognition software, officers were able to match the pic with Smith's drivers license photo. Undercover investigators subsequently contacted him via e-mail and made arrangements to meet near East Mississippi and Sable Boulevard, where he was fitted with a pair of metal bracelets.
Following media coverage of Smith's arrest, 7News reports that five women came forward to say he'd used the same modus operandi on them: a request to pay for practice massage that devolved into crime. And police in Davis, California tell Fox40 that he ran the same scheme on at least one woman there this past July.
In that case, the woman confronted Smith when the massage crossed the line into sexual assault and managed to record his license plate number as he left. Davis cops have been looking for him ever since, but a spokesman tells Fox40 they didn't know he'd left the state until he turned up in Colorado.
Aurora police aren't convinced Smith's list of local victims ends at seven. With that in mind, they encourage anyone with information about him and his activities to contact Detective Steve Crowe at 303-739-6153. Meanwhile, Smith remains in custody on a $250,000 bond set yesterday.
Look below to see a larger version of Smith's license photo and two reports -- one from 7News featuring the local angle, the other from California's Fox40 about his alleged activities there. That's followed by our previous coverage, complete with his mug shot and more.
Continue for our previous coverage about the arrest of Robert Richard Beattie Smith, including additional photos. Original post, 9:50 a.m. January 14: Robert Richard Beattie Smith, 28, may look benign in the photo above -- but the Aurora Police Department believes he posed as a massage therapist in order to sexually assault two young women, ages fifteen and 21. And the APD fears there may be more victims. Additional photos and details below. On January 11, according to the department, investigators were contacted by the teen and her family in regard to what they described as a sexual assault.
The teen is said to have shared a social-media post about losing a job and her search for a new one. Shortly thereafter, she heard from a man later ID'd as Smith, who said he was a fledgling massage therapist and needed to practice on someone as part of his training. He offered to pay for the privilege.
A short time later, the man arrived at the teen's home for what he characterized as massage sessions for her and her older sister. But during the fifteen-year-old's rubdown, she told the APD Smith sexually assaulted her -- actions that so traumatized her that she didn't protest what was happening.
Her 21-year-old sibling wasn't as reticent. When Smith allegedly began touching her in what are characterized as "sexually inappropriate ways," she promptly put an end to the massage, and he split.
Tracking Smith down wasn't easy: The APD concedes that both the cell phone number he'd provided to the victims and his social-media info proved to be dead ends. But detectives with the department's sex-crimes unit subsequently concluded that Smith was their man, then reached him by phone and "lured" him to a location where he was taken into custody.
Smith, who reportedly has a California warrant in his name for a similar offense, is currently being held without bond in the Arapahoe County Jail. Meanwhile, the APD has released his booking photo and a more casual pic due to the possibility that the two young women who led to his capture aren't the only ones he groped under the guise of massage practice. If you have more information on the case, you're encouraged to contact Detective Steve Crowe at 303-739-6153.
Here's Smith's booking photo, followed by a larger look at the cropped image seen at the top of this post.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.