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Pastor Convicted of Sending Threatening Text Messages


UPDATED: Wednesday January 15, 2014 11:29 AM

The legal woes continue for a Delaware County pastor.
10TV has learned Pastor Bennett Smith was convicted of sending threatening text messages to a former member of his congregation.

The former Church at Polaris pastor was convicted last year in an assault case, and then asked to step down.
Smith is currently involved in an ugly legal fight to re-take the leadership of the Church at Polaris.
The church has accused him of being erratic and threatening, a description a recently resolved criminal case appears to support.

In December, Smith once again found himself in front of a judge, charged with menacing and telecommunications harassment.
A Delaware City Prosecutor quoted text messages sent from Smith to a former member of his congregation.
"Hey, Fat (expletive), are you going to answer me? I'm beginning to be annoyed. Why are you saying stupid stuff and (expletive) with my family? I'll kick your fat (expletive) (expletive), you two-faced (expletive)." The messages continued, "Do you have the courage to come face me in North Carolina? If you ever get within eyesight of me I will kick your (expletive) (expletive) (expletive)."

Smith didn't disagree when Delaware Municipal Court Judge David Sunderman described his texts as "threatening," "obscene," and "disgusting."
"From somebody who says 'I'm a minister,' that's rather shocking," said Sunderman.
"Right," responded Smith.

Smith is the same pastor who last May along with his son was charged with assaulting a man in their church parking lot.
Both Bennett and Paul Smith pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
He agreed to resign from the Church at Polaris, but quickly changed his mind, prompting the church board to take out a restraining order.
The victim of his text tirade also has a restraining order against him.
Smith says he regrets it ever happened.
"It wouldn't be the proper manner to communicate with anybody," Sunderman told him.
"Yes sir," Smith responded.
"Much less in your position," said Sunderman.
"I agree absolutely," said Smith. "I wish I never would have done that."

Smith pleaded "no contest" to telecommunications harassment, and prosecutors dropped the menacing charge.
He was given a $350 fine and a year of probation, but that may not be the end of his legal troubles.
10TV has learned the Delaware County Prosecutor's Office is also taking a look at this case.
A spokesperson was unable to provide any additonal comments.

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