A 15-year-old Vassar teen facing possible life imprisonment played sports for Vassar High School after multiple complaints were filed with the Vassar Police Department accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Quintin Pierre Smith is charged, as an adult, with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with an alleged incident that occurred in June 2016 in the city of Vassar’s Sticks Park. His trial, which also includes a charge that he accosted a child for immoral purposes, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 27 in Tuscola County Circuit Court. Smith is being held at a local juvenile detention facility.
It is The Advertiser’s policy to not name youths charged with a crime, unless they are tried as adults. The Advertiser does not name victims of sexual assault.
There are two other alleged incidents which resulted in adult felony charges against Smith, and another incident for which sex-crime charges were filed and dismissed. In the latter situation, Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene said charges are expected to be re-filed.
Smith also faces criminal sexual conduct charges against two girls in Tuscola County Juvenile Court.
A total of six girls, ages 13 to 16, have accused Smith of either sexual assault or inappropriate sexual behavior between March 10, 2016 and March 22, 2017.
Although the alleged June 2016 assault wasn’t reported until March 2017, three other alleged incidents, with Smith as the suspect, resulted in police investigation between March 2016 and September 2016.
The third complaint, in which Smith allegedly sexually assaulted another student, was made to Vassar police on Sept. 30, 2016.
That evening, Smith, who made the Vassar varsity football team as a freshman, played for Vassar against Laker High School. It was the sixth game of the football season. Smith would play in all nine varsity football games in 2016, including the final four contests after being accused of sexual misconduct a third time.
Smith also played junior varsity basketball for the Vulcans during the 2016-17 winter sports season.
Vassar Superintendent Dorothy Blackwell, who was hired in July 2016, says student records are not public. Due to the policy, it is not known whether Smith served a school suspension after being accused of any of the 2016 incidents.
“With student records and student information, we’re not allowed to share student information with anybody for anything,” she said.
A passage in the Vassar Public Schools Student Handbook, under Code of Conduct, Section 3, under the subcategory titled “Possession of a dangerous weapon/arson/criminal sexual conduct,” states that a student who “commits criminal sexual conduct in a school building or on school grounds, the student shall be expelled from the school district permanently.”
On April 4, 2016, Smith, in a written confession to Vassar police, admitted to fondling a female student in Vassar High School on March 10, 2016, after initially denying to police that it occurred. His confession came after another student told Vassar police Smith touched her inappropriately off school grounds in early April 2016. On March 11, 2016, Vassar High School Principal Jason Kiss contacted Vassar police to report the alleged March 10 incident, according to police reports.
On Sept. 30, Kiss, who is also the Vassar varsity football coach, contacted Vassar police again to report that he heard about an alleged sexual assault that occurred off school grounds in the city of Vassar in which Smith was the suspect. Despite three incidents in which Vassar police were contacted about Smith’s alleged misconduct – including the incident in which he confessed to fondling a female student inside Vassar High School – Smith was allowed participate in sports.
According to Vassar athletic code, gross misconduct is a Category A violation. The definition of gross misconduct in the Vassar athletic code book is “As deemed by the administration, to include but not limited to: vandalism, theft, physical or sexual assault.”
The code also states that “Administration is not required to wait for a court decision on pending charges to administer suspensions for legal infractions. A plea bargain or reduced sentence does not constitute a ‘not guilty’ verdict.”
According to the athletic code, a first gross misconduct penalty results in a student-athlete being suspended for 25 percent of a season’s games or events. A second offense results in suspension for half a season, and the third offense results in suspension for two calendar years.
A note in the athletic code states “If circumstances warrant, the School District reserves the right to impose more severe disciplinary action for any offense, up to and including suspension or expulsion from school pursuant to the Revised School Code.”
While the Vassar athletic code governs athletic discipline, the Vassar student handbook addresses school discipline.
“If something occurs off school grounds and is not coming or going to a school or school event, then it’s out of our jurisdiction,” Blackwell said. “That’s the police situation. A school official may hear a report that something happened (off school grounds) and it’s our job and our duty to inform law enforcement or (Child Protective Services) then that becomes their situation to handle.”
Though the student handbook limits Vassar schools’ authority on handling off-campus incidents, the same is not true of the athletic code, where in fact student-athletes can be disciplined for incidents that happen away from school grounds.
According to the Vassar athletic code “Category ‘A’ violations are considered serious acts which could cause injury to self or others. These could occur in school, at school events, away from school, or during the off season.”
Another alleged incident, in which Smith is the suspect, happened in Vassar High School on Feb. 15, 2017. According to a Vassar police report, a Vassar officer contacted Kiss on Feb. 17, 2017, upon hearing that Smith had been suspended from school for inappropriate sexual contact. Kiss confirmed to Vassar police that Smith had been suspended for a third offense involving inappropriate sexual contact.
Kiss did not respond to an interview request from The Advertiser. Vassar’s athletic director during the 2016-17 school year, Jamie Strauss, no longer works for the school according to a Vassar Public Schools secretary.
Smith is charged as an adult with six felonies and six high-court misdemeanors in connection with the alleged Feb. 15, 2017 incident.
Smith is charged as an adult in another alleged incident that occurred in mid-March 2017 and faces two counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes and stalking. He faces two charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in Tuscola County Juvenile Court in connection with the incidents that happened on March 10, 2016 and early April 2016.
Timeline of Smith’s accusations and charges
March 10, 2016: An incident occurs in which Smith, then an eighth-grader, allegedly grabs and fondles a 13-year-old female student inside Vassar High School.
March 11, 2016: A Vassar police report is filed after Vassar Principal Jason Kiss contacts police about an alleged incident that took place at school the previous day. Two days later, Smith denies the accusations to police.
April 5, 2016: According to a Vassar police report, a second student accuses Smith of sexual misconduct. In an interview with police, Smith denies the incident but admits to fondling a student on March 10. He provides a written statement of confession to police.
Mid-June 2016: An alleged sexual assault occurs in Vassar’s Sticks Park involving Smith and a 13-year-old female. The alleged assault won’t be reported until March 2017.
Sept. 27, 2016: An alleged incident occurs on private property in the city of Vassar in which Smith is accused of sexual assault against a 16-year-old female.
Sept. 30, 2016: Kiss calls Vassar police to report the alleged Sept. 27 incident. That night, Smith records two carries as a running back for the Vassar varsity football team. Smith would eventually face third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in Tuscola County Circuit Court in connection with the alleged incident. Those charges have been dismissed, but are expected to be filed again, according to Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene.
Oct. 7, 2016: Smith carries the football one time in a 46-6 Vassar loss to Cass City.
Oct. 14, 2016: In a 42-0 football loss to Unionville-Sebewaing Area, Smith records one rush for four yards.
Oct. 21, 2016: In the last football game of the season, Smith catches a 30-yard touchdown pass.
December 2016 through February 2017: Smith plays basketball for the Vassar junior varsity team. The Advertiser couldn’t confirm how many games he played in, but he did see action in at least five.
Feb. 16, 2017: According to a Vassar police report, an officer receives information that an incident involving Smith happened the previous evening inside Vassar High School.
Feb. 17, 2017: Vassar police contact Kiss, who tells them that Smith was suspended for a third offense of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct in regard to the Feb. 15, 2017 incident.
March 27, 2017: A Vassar police report is filed after a 14-year-old female accuses Smith of propositioning her to commit inappropriate sexual conduct about a week prior.
March 30, 2017: The mother of the victim of the alleged assault in Sticks Park in June 2016 contacts police and files a complaint. A police report is filed.
May 23, 2017: Smith is charged in Tuscola County Juvenile Court with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the alleged incidents that happened on March 10, 2016 and about April 5, 2016.
Sept. 6, 2017: Smith is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct (personal injury) and accosting a child for immoral purposes. Smith is charged as an adult in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 27. The maximum punishment for first-degree CSC conviction is life imprisonment. He is also charged as an adult in Tuscola County District Court for two other prior alleged incidents. Smith is charged with four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, six counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes in connection with the alleged Feb. 15 incident. He is charged with two counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes and one count of stalking in connection with the alleged mid-March 2017 incident.