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Warrant: Man arrested 16 years after woman reported sexual battery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. RaEditor’s note: The following report contains details of a reported sexual battery. Discretion is advised.

A man is facing a sexual battery charge more than 16 years after a woman reported it to police, according to a report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

An arrest warrant obtained by News4JAX shows Reggie Lee Smith was arrested and booked into the Duval County jail Dec. 10 on a sexual battery charge stemming from an incident that was reported on Oct. 30, 2005.

According to the warrant, a woman reported the sexual battery to authorities while she was at a hospital. She told police that on Oct. 28, she was approached by who she described as an unknown male at the Hess gas station on Lane Avenue, now a Speedway. She said the man offered her marijuana.

The warrant states that she refused, but told police that she believed the man had “slipped some kind of drug” into the coffee she bought from the gas station. She later said she remembered being in an unknown apartment during the sexual battery.

The report states that “It was not until she came into consciousness on October 30, 2005, that she left the unknown apartment.

While in the hospital, the report sates, she completed a medical examination and sexual assault kit.

According to the warrant, the kit was not selected for processing until July 11, 2016 and results were not returned until Feb. 23, 2017.

“There was a lab backup. They were overwhelmed with the number of rape kits they had to process,” explained News4JAX crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.

According to endthebacklog.org, in 2015, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported more than 13,000 untested kits.

Police re-interviewed the woman on Aug. 8, 2019. The warrant states the woman “disclosed the same account of the incident as what was previously reported in 2005.″

Days later, the woman was presented with a photographic lineup and identified a suspect, the warrant states. No further progress was made in the case until Feb. 21, 2020, when officers made contact with Smith at his apartment in Douglas, Georgia. He was not arrested.

Records show on Nov. 15, 2021, a judge signed an arrest warrant for Smith. Jail records show Smith was booked into Duval County jail on Dec. 10.

In 2016, Florida enacted a law requiring law enforcement agencies to submit sexual assault kits for testing within 30 days if a report is made or requested by a victim and all must be tested within 120 days of the lab receiving them.

Jefferson says there is the issue of a statute of limitations.

“They have the evidence, you have to measure whether statute of limitations has expired,” he said. “If the statue of limitations hasn’t expired, he will be prosecuted.”

According to Florida law in cases of sexual battery crimes against victims 18 years of age or older, if the offense is reported to law enforcement within 72 hours of the offense, there is no statute of limitations.

If the offense is not reported within 72 hours, the statute of limitations is three to four years.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office does not release the identity of crime victims, nor is it the policy of News4JAX to identify sexual battery survivors, unless the individual asks or allows for their name to be published.

Research shows survivors commonly describe their lives following a sexual assault as emotionally charged, confusing, and frightening. However, research also shows, survivors who seek counseling, make changes to their physical safety, and seek medical attention report regaining sense of self and strength, according to the National Sexual Assault Helpline.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, there are resources available to you.


About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.