A Darby Township commissioner has been arrested in Philadelphia after police said he lured a 15-year-old into his vehicle and sexually assaulted him in 2017.
Marvin E. Smith, 50, one of five commissioners on the Delaware County township’s governing body, turned himself in Tuesday to the Philadelphia Special Victims Unit; a warrant for his arrest had been issued in late November. He faces charges of rape, sexual assault, luring, corruption of a minor, and related charges.
Police said the victim told investigators in 2019 that he had been sexually assaulted by Smith in August 2017, when Smith approached him in West Philadelphia and offered him a ride home, saying he was a family friend. Smith then drove the child to a nearby park, exposed himself, then sexually assaulted the boy, police said. He then dropped the victim off at “an unknown location” and drove away, they said.
Smith was released from custody Wednesday on $100,000 bail, according to court papers. Attempts to reach Smith on Thursday were unsuccessful, and he did not have an attorney listed.
It’s unclear why authorities didn’t arrest Smith for two years after the initial report was made and why he didn’t surrender for weeks after a warrant was issued.
Darby Township Solicitor Michael Pierce said he became aware of the charges this week. He said the township intends to “respect the judicial process” and doesn’t plan to take action against Smith prior to a conviction or guilty plea.
Smith served as the elected official who oversaw the municipality’s police department until last fall, when he was removed from that role and faced calls to resign after he shared a controversial meme on his personal Facebook page. The image depicted two Black men pointing guns at a white police officer alongside the caption: “Does it Have to come to This to make them Stop Murdering and Terrorizing Us?”
After the district attorney and local police unions issued firm rebukes of the picture, Smith apologized.
Smith, a Democrat, was elected in 2019 to represent the township’s 1st Ward.