Prosecutor: School hired convicted sex offender, paid him under the table

PRICE HILL (FOX19) - A man convicted of rape has been working at a K-12 school in Price Hill and getting paid under the table, according to an assistant prosecutor in Hamilton County.

Randy Smith, 55, was arrested at Cincinnati Technology Academy for failing to register as a sex offender Tuesday afternoon. His bond was set to $200,000 Wednesday morning.

The school knew Smith failed to register as a sex offender and was paying him under the table for nearly two years, prosecuting attorney David Wood told a judge.

"We are deeply troubled by these developments. Mr. Smith was not an employee of the school under any terms. The school is conducting an investigation into this matter," Superintendent Roger Conners said in a statement Wednesday.

While Conners claims Smith wasn't an employee, prosecutors say Smith was carrying keys to the school building when he was arrested. The arrest report also states Smith was employed at the school as a maintenance man.

According to the National Sex Offender Registry, Smith was convicted of attempted rape in 1992 and is listed as a 'habitual offender'.

Sherry LaGory said she pulled her two teenagers and a grandchild out of the school last year for a different reason, but Smith's arrest did catch her by surprise.

"Mr. Smith himself was a very nice man you know, he was very helpful. I was shocked to see the charges on him," she said. "I'm glad that my mom's intuition kicked in and got them out when I did because I... I don't know, I wouldn't want my kids there to watch somebody being arrested like that on school grounds. That's bad."

A nearby resident who asked to remain anonymous said, "The man that owns that, he just hires under the table, pays them off with apartments, etc. I doubt he does background checks,".

If Smith posts bond, he will have to wear an electronic tracking device.

His case is set to go before a grand jury next week.

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