The son of Kosciusko County sheriff candidate Jim Smith has pled guilty to two criminal charges stemming from a July 2021 incident.

Zachary M.L. Smith, 19, of 1955 S. Ind. 13, Pierceton, pled guilty to maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony; and battery, a Class B misdemeanor.

A change of plea hearing was held in Kosciusko Superior Court II on Tuesday.

On Aug. 2, 2021, an Indiana State Police detective was contacted by the Marshall County Department of Child Services regarding potential sexual misconduct with a minor. The case was ultimately referred to Kosciusko County DCS, since the incident occurred in Kosciusko County on July 4, 2021.

Witnesses disclosed that sexual contact occurred between Smith, who was 18 at the time; and a 14-year-old. During a forensic interview, the youth disclosed that they had sexual intercourse with Smith.

According to court documents, the child said they met with two friends to watch fireworks on July 4, 2021. Later that day, the child went with their friends to meet three men at an industrial shop in North Webster. One of the men was identified as Smith.

Witnesses said that Smith brought marijuana to the shop and provided it to the others, including the child. In an interview with DCS workers, the child “reported that much of the contact was consensual in nature, including the intercourse, and at no time was (the child) forced to do anything against (their) will.”

Both men who were at the shop with Smith said Smith had told them each directly that he had engaged in sexual conduct with the child.

Online paperwork on this case first appeared on June 30, 2022, with the allegations being brought to InkFreeNews’ attention prior to the affidavit of probable cause being filed.

During the change of plea hearing, Kosciusko Superior Court II Judge Torrey Bauer said the recommended plea agreement calls for a one-year sentence. The court will have discretion as to whether Smith will serve that sentence through probation or if it will be suspended in its entirety.

Bauer took the plea under advisement and requested Smith cooperate in the completion of a pre-sentence investigation report prior to sentencing.

Smith will be sentenced at 3 p.m. Sept. 19.