Men in My Town

“Keith Smith: A story of pain, fear and hope”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on November 7, 2010

by Audra Clark, Valley Breeze Staff Writer

LINCOLN – In 1974, Keith Smith, a Lincoln teen, was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger at the age of 14, but he still considers himself one of the luckiest people anyone could ever meet.

That night he was held captive for two hours and 15 minutes, said Smith. Forty-five more minutes and his chances of being murdered as well would have jumped to 50 percent. But he wasn’t murdered, said Smith. He survived and went on to lead a good life.

Recently, he returned to Lincoln on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at the Marriott Courtyard, 636 George Washington Highway to tell his story.

His talk included a discussion on reasonable steps to keep children safe and a reading of excerpts from his book, “Men in My Town,” about his experience dealing with what had happened to him.

On Friday, March 1, 1974, Smith said he was trying to get home after a weekly meeting with his hockey team on Front Street.

He said he walked down to Smithfield Avenue and was hitchhiking home.

Keith Smith. Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and author of "Men in My Town."

“Back then, in 1974, to see a 14-year-old kid hitchhiking home was not all that uncommon,” said Smith.

He said a car pulled up beside him and the passenger door opened.

Smith said he got in and told the man driving to take him to Hartley’s Pork Pies.

“Very little conversation took place from the time I got in the car to the time he drove past Hartley’s Pork Pies,” said Smith. “As he drove past Hartley’s, I didn’t think anything of it. I guess I just thought he forgot where I told him I wanted to get out.”

Smith said he told the guy to drop him off just past Hartley’s, but the guy ignored him, and then he sped up.

“That’s when I realized something’s not right,” said Smith. “He definitely knew I wanted to get out and he wasn’t pulling over to let me out.”

There was a bar on the corner a few blocks down called Kiernan’s Lounge, now Brooksie’s Pub. At that intersection, he said, the man took a right onto Grafton Street.

When the man slowed down to take the turn, Smith said he saw his chance to escape and grabbed the handle on the passenger door. He said he leaned on the door figuring he would roll out onto the parking lot of Kiernan’s, but the door wouldn’t open.

Smith explained that the man was a “recidivist predator” and the door had been rigged so that once it was closed, it wouldn’t open again.

He said the man turned to him after that, punched Smith in the head and he told him, “don’t do it again.”

The man then drove up Cobble Hill Road, took a right on Louisquisset Pike past the State Police barracks and the Lincoln Downs racetrack (now Twin River), said Smith. He said eventually they arrived behind Fairlawn Golf Course off Sherman Avenue and drove down a road that was wooded and had no streetlights. Smith said the man drove off the road about 100 yards into the woods “where he proceeds to give me a beating and to sexually assault me.”

The incident occurred between 6 and 8:15 p.m., said Smith.

He said the man then took him back to Smithfield Avenue and onto Higginson Avenue toward Central Falls, and pulled into the Cote’s Meat Market parking lot.

Smith said the man got out of his car and opened up the passenger side door with a key from the outside.

“I’m not about to get out of the car because as long as I’m in the car and he’s out I’m safe,” said Smith. “He walked back around the car to get back in and as he gets on the driver’s side of his car that is when it was time for me to get out.”

He said that’s when he jumped out of the passenger side door, picked up a broken piece of cement and used to it smash the rear window of the man’s AMC Gremlin auto.

“I did that with intent,” said Smith. “I wanted to make sure I marked up his car pretty bad so that when I told the cops what he was driving there would be some way to identify it.”

Then, said Smith, he took off, running down through the parking lot of Lincoln Lanes bowling alley, what is now the Keefe Funeral Home.

He said he ran through several back yards, and street to street, hiding behind trees and cars to get home.

By this time it was dark, said Smith, and every pair of headlights seemed like it was the man, coming back to kill him.

When he got home, said Smith, his oldest brother and his father were there.

“I wasn’t in the house for a minute,” he said. His oldest brother knew something was really wrong as soon as Smith entered the house and he called to their father, said Smith. A couple of minutes later, he said, he was at the Lincoln Police station telling his story to a detective.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Smith. “but there were a couple of moments during my captivity where I said to myself, I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I did this, I said, if I live through the night, he will pay.”

He said that is what led him to read the man’s license plate, back then written on the rear of inspection stickers on the windshield, for the two hours he was captive until it was “emblazoned” in his memory.

Smith said he gave the police the description of the man, the license plate number, the car’s make and model and told them he broke the window.

Eventually the officer said “well you got the right guy,” after they ran the license plate, said Smith. The man had been arrested a number of times for sex crimes against children, said Smith.

“He was indicted, but he never went to trial because someone beat him to death before his court date,” said Smith. “No one’s ever been charged with his murder.”

Thirty-five years later, Smith said he decided to write his book, “Men in My Town,” because he was finally able to let go of the guilt and the shame of what happened to him.

He said he was ready to tell people what happened, because after three decades, less than six people ever knew that he had been raped. Even his five siblings, except for his oldest brother, and his daughters didn’t know.

The book, he said, is not about the bad guy who lived in Central Falls, but about “guys in my town.”

They were known to his family, he said, and were ever present figures in town, always at Brooksie’s or at the golf course, where Smith worked as a teen.

“They made me feel that they knew and because they knew, I was safe,” said Smith. “The book is not about a sexual assault or a brutal murder, it is a story about men who made a boy feel safe in a troubled time in his life. It is a story of hope.”

In the book, most of the names and a few of the circumstances have been changed to respect people’s privacy.

Smith said the book, which is available at amazon.com, “has done a lot for me,” and he said he hopes it helps other survivors find hope.

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The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.  Read Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.   Available now at Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle.

Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and author, Keith Smith discusses “Men in My Town” and Sexual Assault – Live Interviews

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on October 7, 2010

Click any, or all, of the links below to listen to Keith’s live interviews

Keith discusses his abduction, assault, his book and “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” with Radio Talk Show host Leo Pacheco

5 Steps We Can Take to Keep Kids Safe, live from NBC Studios in New York

Making the transition from victim to Survivor on “My Time to Tell” on Blog Talk Radio

Drs. Aaron and Margaret Jamal on Blog Talk Radio “On Demand”

Keith Discusses “Five Steps We Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” on Blog Talk Radio

Dr. Teena Cahill, host of Wisdom and Beyond

Gary Koplin, host of Healthy Place TV, the web’s Mental Health Station

Greg Turner & Brian Henderson on Blog Talk Radio “On Demand”

Dr. Teena Cahill on Web Talk Radio

Bob Marrone, Morning Talk Show Host, NY Radio WVOX

Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused.

Here’s Keith’s story.

“At the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger. It wasn’t a neighbor, a coach, a relative, a family friend or teacher. It was a recidivist pedophile predator who spent time in prison for previous sex crimes; an animal hunting for victims in the quiet, bucolic, suburban neighborhoods of Lincoln, Rhode Island. I was able to identify the guy and the car he was driving.  Although he was arrested that night and indicted a few months later, he never went to trial. His trial never took place because he was brutally beaten to death in Providence before his court date. Thirty five years later, no one has ever been charged with the crime.”

“Out of fear, shame and guilt, I’ve been silent for over three decades, sharing my story with very few people. No more. The silence has to end. What happened to me wasn’t my fault. The fear, the shame, the guilt have to go. It’s time to stop keeping this secret from the people closest to me, people I care about, people I love, my longtime friends and my family. It’s time to speak out to raise public awareness of male sexual assault, to let other survivors know that they’re not alone and to help survivors of rape and violent crime understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience.”

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The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Available now at Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Keith Smith, Author of “Men in My Town,” Guests with Mike Angley

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on August 20, 2010

Keith discusses Men in My Town with Award Winning Author, Criminal Investigator and Counterterrorism Specialist Mike Angley, Retired Colonel, United States Air Force, Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

Click here to read the interview.

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.  Available now at Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Smith Appeals to County Government to Fund Crisis Intervention Counseling Program for Child Victims of Sexual Assault

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on December 11, 2009

Keith’s comments to the Mercer County Board of Freeholders, Mercer County, NJ, December 10, 2009 as County Government considers cutting funding of Crisis Intervention Counseling Program run by PEI Kids, Inc.

My name is Keith Smith and while I’m a member of the Board of Trustees of PEI Kids, tonight I’m here in a different role. Tonight, I’m here to speak with you as a survivor of sexual violence.

In 1974, at the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a total stranger, a recidivist, pedophile, predator hunting for young boys in my hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island. 35 years ago, agencies like PEI Kids didn’t exist. Today, I’m glad they do.

Tonight, I’m asking you to help the children of Mercer County, victims of sexual assault and rape, right here in Mercer County. Help our children obtain the help, support, guidance and counseling they need to cope with the horror they’ve experienced and to recover from the emotional and physical trauma they suffer as victims of sexual violence.

The Trentonian ran this headline. Man Charged in Rape of Girl, 8. The article reads, “A convicted pedophile has been charged with the rape, kidnapping and attempted homicide of an 8 year old girl who was abducted from her home on February 15 and left for dead in a snow bank. Police allege Eric Lyons, 37, abducted the girl from her home, drove her about a mile away and tried to rape and strangle her. Lyons then drove the girl to a parking lot and dumped her between a fence and snow bank where police said he left her for dead. The girl was found several hours later by two truck drivers.”

Three weeks later, the Trenton Times ran this headline. Trucker Pleads in Sexual Assault. The article reads, “A truck driver has pleaded guilty in the knifepoint kidnapping and sexual assault of two 17 year olds last summer. James Randall Smith, 24, entered guilty pleas to two counts of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. Smith tied one victim to a signpost then drove the other victim to a rural area where he raped her and tied her to a tree. The girl freed herself and was spotted walking barefoot six hours later.”

These stories, and a hundred more stories like these, are the stories of the children who are served by the incredible people and programs of PEI Kids.

PEI Kids provides crisis intervention counseling to children who are victims of sexual assault. There is no other agency providing crisis intervention counseling services to these kids in Mercer County. Should you choose to eliminate or reduce funding for PEI’s Crisis Intervention Program, the life-altering and life-saving counseling PEI Kids provides to these children will be significantly reduced or even eliminated, leaving Mercer County’s youngest victims of sexual assault and rape, without the professional help they need to cope and recover from the horror they’ve experienced.

Without professional help to cope and recover, children who are victims of sexual assault and rape typically resort to inappropriate behaviors to cope on their own. They turn to drugs and alcohol; they drop out of school; they run away from home; suffer from eating disorders, sleeping disorders, personality disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome; they resort to physical violence, sexual promiscuity and inappropriate and sometimes criminal sexually reactive behavior; they resort to cutting, self mutilation and in the most extreme cases, suicide.

Over the years, PEI Kids has led more than 4,000 of Mercer County’s children, child victims of sexual violence, to lives full of hope and promise by providing crisis intervention counseling and PEI needs continued financial support from the County to do so. The consequences to every one of Mercer County’s young victims, their families and our communities are too great for anything less.

PEI Kids provided Crisis Intervention Counseling to 238 children in 2008. 238 children who were victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape. Children abused, assaulted or raped right here in Mercer County.

• 151 Girls and 87 boys.

• 3 children were 18 years old.

• 71 children were between the age of 13 and 17.

• 132 children were between the age of 6 and 12.

• 37 children were under the age of 5.

• Children from East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Lawrenceville, Pennington, Trenton, Robbinsville and West Windsor.

In 2009 PEI Kids will see approximately 300 children, kids from every town in Mercer County. The need to provide Crisis Intervention Counseling Services to children who are victims of sexual assault still exists and isn’t going away.

PEI Kids is the only agency in Mercer County providing children with Crisis Intervention Counseling related to sex crimes.

Now, I have just one question. If you refuse to fund PEI’s program, who will help the children? In 2010, who will help Mercer County’s children who have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped?

Ladies and gentlemen of the Freeholder Board, unfortunately the need to provide Crisis Intervention Counseling to children who are victims of sexual assault will never go away. The need to help child victims of sex crimes will always exist. May you find it in your hearts, your head and your budget to make sure funding for PEI’s Crisis Intervention Counseling Program for child victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape also exists.

Thank you.

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Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. 

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.  Available now at Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Men in My Town profiled in the Fall Issue of Providence College Magazine

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on October 27, 2009

Keith Smith’s Men in My Town is profiled in the Fall Issue of Providence College Magazine 9781439226254-FrontCover

In Graduates’ Literary Work Hits the Bookshelf we get an inside look at Keith Smith’s recently released bio-novel, Men in My Town. In Men in My Town, Smith tells the shocking but compelling story of the abduction, beating, and rape of a teenage boy, followed by the unsolved murder of his assailant. Making the narrative even more gripping is that the protagonist and victim was Smith himself. “I wrote the story to raise awareness of male sexual assault, to let other victims know that they’re not alone and to help victims of rape and violent crime understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience,” he said. “For those who suffer in silence, I hope my story brings some comfort, strength, peace, and hope.”

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com in Trade Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Listen to Keith Smith’s Live “Men in My Town” Interview on NY News Radio WVOX

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on August 15, 2009

The Men in My Town interview on NY News Radio WVOX

Click the link to listen to Keith’s interview discussing Men in My Town with Bob Marrone, Morning Radio Talk Show Host at NY News Radio WVOX.

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

A Conversation with Keith Smith, Author of Men in My Town

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on June 30, 2009

Q: Keith, I understand you’ve recently finished writing a book. Tell us about it.

A: The book is titled, Men in My Town. It’s a suspense novel based on the true story of the abduction, beating and sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy in Lincoln, Rhode Island in 1974 and the brutal unsolved murder of his attacker in Providence in 1975.

Q: What can you tell us without spoiling the plot for those who haven’t yet read the book?9781439226254-FrontCover

A: The story focuses on the young boy’s relationship with a few men in his town, men who are close to the boy and his family, men who watch over him, men that protect him after he’s been assaulted. They’re good men with the capacity to do bad things. It’s a story that causes the reader to revisit their position on the question, “Does the end ever justify the means?” and vividly juxtaposes the good and evil that can exist simultaneously in every man.

Q: Why did you write Men in My Town?

A: There are a number of reasons. First, it’s a good story worth telling. It’s a gripping suspense novel with a storyline that includes characters based on real people, real places and real events. It’s a glimpse into the street hustle hiding in the peaceful suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island in the 1970’s, complete with gamblers, bookies, car thieves, petty criminals, organized crime, hard-working honest men and a murderer or two.  Secondly, Men In My Town is my personal story. I am the 14-year-old boy in the story and only a few people, very few people, know what really happened to me on that cold winter night in 1974. I wrote Men in My Town to stop keeping this secret from the people closest to me, people I care about, people I love, my long-time friends and my family.  And finally, I wrote the story to raise awareness of male sexual assault, to let other victims know that they’re not alone and to help victims of rape and violent crime understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience.

Q: Why did you wait 35 years to tell this story?

A: I’ve been silent because of shame and guilt. I was ashamed that a man sexually assaulted me. My guilt was based on wanting to protect my protectors, to eliminate the possibility that someday, someone would get arrested and perhaps go to jail for killing the guy for what he did to me. I’ve been fighting these thoughts, these feelings, these emotions, for decades and I’m finally able to properly deal with these things. I now realize that I shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty because I’m not responsible for what my attacker did to me… and I’m not responsible for what others may have done to him.

Q: What makes Men in My Town unique?

A: It’s unique because it’s the only fact-based suspense novel that I’m aware of that deals with the subject of male sexual assault and the unsolved murder of the pedophile rapist. It’s unique because there aren’t many novels set in Rhode Island and this is the first novel ever set in the Town of Lincoln. Men in My Town is unique in that it helps people understand that violent crimes against children can occur anywhere, even in bucolic, beautiful, sleepy little suburban towns like Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Q: Are there other works, either books or movies, that you think are similar to Men in My Town?

A: Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River comes to mind. Mystic River opens with the abduction and sexual assault of a young boy from a tight knit, working class suburb of Boston. It deals with pedophilia, murder, secrets, average guys, cops and criminals. Michael Corrente’s movie Federal Hill, set in Providence, deals with relationships between close friends, organized crime and what I refer to as ‘street hustle.’ If you’re familiar with either Mystic River or Federal Hill, you may see similar themes in Men in My Town.

Q: How long did it take you to write this book?

A: The story has been with me since 1974 so I can actually say it took me 35 years to write this book. The actual writing, putting pen to paper, hammering out the story, revising drafts, took about 6 months; working with editors, literary agents and publishers took the project out to a full year.

Q: How did you write Men in My Town? What was your process?

A: I wrote this story inside out. I didn’t start by writing chapter one, page one. Instead, I listed the events that I wanted to write about, the places I wanted readers to visit, the characters I wanted readers to meet and the emotion I wanted readers to feel. I wrote sections one at a time capturing the events, places, characters and emotion, then pieced them together in a sequence that made the story whole, like a quilt.

Q: I understand you left Rhode Island in 1982. What do you miss about Rhode Island?

A: I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in the Fairlawn section in the south end of Lincoln, 4 miles north of Providence. Everyone on my block knew my brothers, my sisters, my mom, my dad and me. People went to baseball games at the field in the fall, skated on the pond in the winter and lined up on Smithfield Avenue to watch the Memorial Day parade in the spring. There was a wonderful sense of community, security, peace. People sat on their porches and knew their neighbors. Neighbors watched out for one another, took care of each other. I miss that. I also miss coffee milk, clear chowda, clam cakes, great Italian food on Federal Hill and the beaches from Narragansett to Watch Hill.

Q: Well we’re glad you’re back in Rhode Island, at least for today. Keith, how do we get a copy of Men in My Town?

A: Men in My Town is available now on Amazon.com. You can pick up a copy of Men in My Town at all public libraries in Rhode Island and public libraries in Mercer County, New Jersey. If your local library doesn’t have a copy in their collection, they’ll typically order one after they receive a few requests, so please visit your local library and ask them to stock a copy or two. Discounts on orders for 10 or more books are available, just email your request to MenInMyTown@aol.com.

Q: Thanks for being with us tonight.

A: It was my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about Men in My Town.

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Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. 

Men in My Town by Keith Smith.

Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

 

An Introduction to Men in My Town

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on March 4, 2009

I recently finished writing Men In My Town, a novel based on the true life story of the abduction, beating and rape of a 14 year old boy and the unsolved murder of his rapist.  The story is set in the boy’s suburban hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island where he was raped in 1974 and the gritty city of Providence where his rapist was brutally beaten to death in 1975.       

It’s a true story of someone getting away with murder.

This fact based crime novel focuses on the boy’s relationship with several men in his hometown, men who are important to the boy, men who look out for him, men that protect him, good men who occasionally do bad things. 

There’s Uncle Mike, a powerful and well-connected bookie, tied to the boy through a family relationship spanning three generations. 

There’s Kevin, a fulltime tow truck driver and part time car thief who handles “special situations” for Uncle Mike. 

We meet Bobby, a perpetually unemployed gambler who loves to bet the ponies at Lincoln Downs, living high when he wins and living scared when he loses. 

We’re introduced to Dennis, a tailor and volunteer fireman, who is as comfortable with a handgun strapped to his inner left ankle as he is with a fireman’s Scott Air Pack strapped to his back. 

We learn the rapist is a serial pedophile, owns an adult bookstore, was recently convicted on federal charges of distributing obscene materials, did time in prison and never wants to go back. 

We learn the recidivist child molester is being watched by the Feds, by his business partners and by men from Lincoln, including one who spoke 15 words that sparked 30 years of silence.

Why did I write Men In My Town? Because no other author could deliver more insight, passion and understanding of this boy’s experience and his relationship with the men who are his protectors. I can say this because Men In My Town is my personal story, a story told from my heart, about the emotion, fear, guilt and horror I experienced, and the silence I’ve maintained since I was abducted, beaten and raped on that dark, cold winter night in 1974. 

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Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. 

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com