BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (KMSP) - An employee with the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office is under investigation for allegedly soliciting a minor for sex, according to a Hennepin County search warrant affidavit.
On Sept. 9, police arrested 46-year-old Clayton James Smeby, a Hennepin County public defender investigator, for probable cause of solicitation of a minor.
According to a search warrant affidavit, on Aug. 10, Brooklyn Park police officers responded to a report of a teen girl threatening a man with a knife.
The officers arrested the girl for second degree assault, but while they were taking her to the detention center, she told officers that she was the victim of sexual assault and the man she was with was a pimp.
The 15-year-old told police that she had been recruited by women into sex trafficking. She said the man thought he was paying for sex, but she said she was only there to get money from him.
After searching her phones, police found Smeby’s number listed.
In June, Smeby wrote to the girl about being her “sugar daddy,” explaining that a sugar daddy “buys things in exchange for playtime.” Smeby agreed to be her sugar daddy and give her monetary compensation in exchange for sex and told her she could still be friends with his daughter.
According to the texts, Smeby went to the girl’s home on “numerous occasions” for sexual acts in exchange for food or cigarettes.
The girl texted him multiple times that she is only 15 years old, in which Smeby replied “you are going to be 19 in October, cough cough.” Through the months, Smeby told her to delete their texts.
Smeby is also accused of watching porn with the teen in his yard.
The conversations lasted from late June to early August.
When Smeby was arrested, he told police he received the girl’s messages that said she was underage, but he decided to ignore them.
Smeby told police he also uses his personal phone for work, which means it holds client information. When he was arrested, he also had a work clipboard in his car. In the affidavit, officials noted a public defender’s office designee would need to search the items in front of police.
Currently, Smeby is a free man. Fox 9 confronted him at his home to ask him about the search warrant affidavit. When asked if he solicited sex from a minor, he said, “no.”
Hennepin County representatives declined to comment, maintaining the case has been turned over to Ramsey County, but the criminal complaint against Smeby remains sealed by a Hennepin County judge.