Candice Smith lost her job at a group home for kids after bosses accused her of having sex with a 14-year-old boy. Now she faces criminal charges — but she says he raped her.
A tipster tells us that Smith was fired in October from her job at the Tamassee DAR School in South Carolina, a group home which lists its mission as "supporting children and families in crisis through residential, educational, and outreach services." The reason, allegedly: a 14-year-old student there claimed Smith gave him cigarettes and money to have sex with her. On Facebook, however, she tells a different story:
I treated these kids like my own children. Then one of them forced himself on me.
I was thunderstruck at the time. Horrified. How could this broken, hurt child have betrayed all the trust and love I'd given to him? How would I ever be able to tell anyone? Shocked and terrified of losing my job and freedom, I told no one. [...] I should have, because it happened again. And again. And again. And again. For three months this child forced himself on me, demanded I bring him cigarettes and alcohol, that I hand over my credit cards (I managed to get him to take money instead). He threatened me constantly, said he would "make me sorry," "make all my money disappear." He told me he'd steal my car, told me he thought about how much he wanted to kill me... and I just disappeared.
Then, she says, "the kid soured on me — I wouldn't give a report that another kid had "tried to kill him" because that wasn't the case — and because I didn't give this kid his way, he said we'd been having 'consensual sex.'" She says she'll be arrested any day for sexual misconduct with a minor. She's also made a series of videos about her case. In one, she describes being interrogated by police officers, one of whom allegedly told her, "what I think is you got into something that went a little bit more than you wanted it to, [...] and you've never had any boyfriends so you probably liked the attention."
Smith's case remains extremely murky. Her last video was posted yesterday — as yet, she doesn't appear to have been arrested. Neither she nor Tamassee DAR officials have yet responded to my request for comment. The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is still addressing my request. Tamassee DAR's 2010 annual report includes a column by "Miss Candice," in which Smith writes about meeting her students for the first time:
As the kids arrived, the Residential Manager introduced them to me one by one, my heart quieted, beating steady. I became aware of the realization of an absolute truth: Tamassee is the place for me.
This first meeting remains stamped on the backs of my eyelids. I cherish each moment my heart first encountered another heart in crisis.
Little is clear for now about Smith's crisis — all we have is the unusual story of a woman and a boy, both of whom accuse the other of a sex crime. Hopefully time will reveal who's telling the truth.