Pastor, wife indicted in alleged sexual assault, child abuse of 'God daughters'

Pastor Bobby Smith and his wife LaShawn lead New Beginnings Ministries in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pastor Bobby Smith and his wife LaShawn lead New Beginnings Ministries in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Screenshot/New Beginnings Ministries

A Las Vegas pastor and his wife have been indicted on multiple charges of sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes they allegedly committed with multiple underage victims under their leadership 10 years ago.

Pastor Bobby Cornealius Smith and his wife, Lashawn Nicole Smith, of New Beginnings Ministries Church of God in Christ in Las Vegas, Nevada, were both formally charged after one of their alleged victims reported them to police in August 2022, according to 8 News Now.

Bobby Smith was charged with one felony count of attempted sexual assault, nine counts of sexual assault, and one count of child abuse, neglect or endangerment, while Lashawn Smith was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

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No one responded to calls made by The Christian Post to New Beginnings Ministries Church of God in Christ on Friday, but a message on the church’s answering service stated that “we are under the leadership of Pastor Bobby Smith.”

The couple are also still listed as leaders of the congregation on the church’s website.

“We have a no-judgment policy! Come in as you are, but refuse to stay the same, and allow God to complete His perfect work in you,” a message above the couple’s photo on the website declares.

When the couple were first arrested last August, according to a KTNV report, two of their alleged victims, who are now all adult women, told police that Bobby Smith gave them a sex toy and told them to go to the bathroom and use it. He later allegedly used the toy on his then-underage victims and told one girl that "God had told him if (she) did not participate, it would ruin her life."

Bobby Smith allegedly use four different sex toys with one victim who told police “it definitely happened over 30 times."

Another woman, who said she was known as one of the pastor’s "God daughters," told police she was abused while she was staying with the pastor’s family as a teen. He allegedly used a sex toy on her “periodically for months."

When she turned 18, she said Pastor Smith invited her to an apartment and "convinced her" to have sex with "an unknown older guy" and someone else whose name was redacted in police records.

A third woman said she was just 17 when she joined Pastor Smith’s church and revealed she was having marital problems. She obeyed him when he told her she "needed to leave her husband." And she quickly became one of his “God daughters.”

She eventually joined other “God daughters” in spending more time at the pastor’s family home, including sleepovers.

One night, according to the woman, Pastor Smith called her to his room and coerced her to perform a sex act on him.

When she became "terrified Bobby was going to rape or hurt her," she told police she pushed him away and alerted the other “God daughters.”

She said she pushed him away and ran downstairs to tell one of the other girls what happened.

The name of the church Bobby Smith was pastoring at the time of the alleged incidents, which reportedly occurred on or between 2012 and 2014, was unclear because it was redacted from police reports. The three women claimed they reported the pastor to multiple people, including his mother “and many other church leaders.”

Smith stepped down from the church in 2014.

In an interview with police last year, Smith's wife alleged that one of the victims had "lied when she was younger about Bobby using a sex toy on her."

She explained that she believed her husband when he denied the allegations and admitted that one of the girls was given a sex toy "to keep her from having sex with boys."

She also admitted to participating in a threesome with one of the girls at an apartment.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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