Men in My Town

American Troops in Afghanistan Reading Men in My Town

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on January 20, 2012
United States Marine, NATO Forces, Afghanistan. Semper Fi, Marine !

U. S. Marine Corps., NATO Forces, ISAF, Afghanistan. Semper Fi, Marine !

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Riel, Lincoln, RI - Kabul, Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Riel. Lincoln, R.I., USA. Kabul, Afghanistan. One of the Men in My Town.

Keith discusses “Men in My Town” with Dr. Teena Cahill

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on November 18, 2010


Click this link to watch Keith discuss Men in My Town with Dr. Teena Cahill on “Wisdom and Beyond.”


Keith Smith is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and author of Men in My Town.  He’s available as a Keynote 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.”


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 in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at

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 in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at

In Honor of Chief Ernie Hart

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

One of the Men in My Town died today – Chief Ernie Hart, Chief of the Fairlawn-Lincoln Fire Department.

Chief was a good man. He taught us how to lay a few hundred feet of 3 inch hose in the bed of a pumper and was insistent about us properly rolling the 50 feet of green garden hose that laid between the bay doors.

When he caught guys washing their own cars at the fire station, he made them painstakingly hand wash the old Ward La France pumper until it was spotless.

He took local boys who weren’t old enough to smoke and gave them the courage to walk into smoke-filled buildings.

I’m pretty sure he never coached a sport, but he was more of a coach than any I ever played for and better than all of them. He coached dozens of us, 16 year-old kids and 50 year-old men, to work together as a team.

He taught us to work side-by-side so we could roll out of the station with 3 men on a truck; one to drive, one to dress the hydrant and one to slip on a Scott Air Pack and enter buildings.

Men in My Town Pictures Firemen

He taught us the buddy-system; no one ever entered a burning building alone and it was up to each one of us to keep the other guy safe.

He was serious and professional on the scene of a fire and would entertain us with stories about drunks who fell asleep smoking and burnt their couch or the guy on Cobble Hill Road who put a garden hose in his chimney to put out a creosote fire in his fireplace.

When ten young women died in a dormitory fire during my freshman year at Providence College in 1977, Chief reached out to console me and my friends.

He was a friend to Duffy, Bones and Arthur; a mentor to me, David, Kevin, Tim, Greg and Russell; a husband to Barbara; and a father to Debbie, David, Brian, Bruce, Kevin, Craig and Maryann.

Fairlawn was a safer place because Ernie Hart was our Fire Department Chief.

Kids from Fairlawn grew up to be better men because Ernie Hart was their Chief.

My book, Men in My Town, is dedicated to ‘masked men and superhero’s, real and imagined.’  It’s dedicated to men in my town who enter burning buildings in life-offering, unselfish acts of bravery and kindness, real men, real-life heroes.  It’s dedicated to Chief Ernie Hart and the firemen who were lucky enough to stand by his side.

Rest in Peace, my Chief and Thank You.

Ernest J. Hart, Jr.  1927 – 2009

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

Email the author at rates Men in My Town, “Very Good.” Cites novel as “Compelling storytelling… a rare, reassuring tale of vigilante justice.”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on June 9, 2009



In 1974, a young man was abducted and raped by a total stranger. Using his wits, the boy is able to make identifying markings on his attacker’s car, and he memorizes the license plate, enabling the police to identify and arrest the man. One year later, the boy’s attacker is found brutally beaten and murdered, yet his murder is never solved. “Men in My Town” is based on the author’s own experiences, and blends together the author’s own account of the events that occurred, and fictional speculation of what may have happened to his attacker.

Compelling storytelling in the opening chapters draw in the reader and keeps the reader interested through the concluding chapters. Author Keith Smith describes the residents of Lincoln and their relationships to each other in elaborate detail to show how this network of men may have banded together to track down the attacker and arrange his murder. The interesting cast includes a bookie, gamblers, lawyers, and a tailor, all who may have played some role in the plan. The author also traces the attacker’s steps both before and after the rape, leading up to his murder, following him even through other attacks on young men. While the story often feels disjointed, one can imagine the difficulty involved in Smith revisiting the attack and trying to get inside the thoughts of his attacker.

Men in My Town” tells a rare, reassuring tale of vigilante justice. While the authorities failed the author as a young man, pushing back the rapist’s trial gradually for over a year, the men of Lincoln stepped in to provide necessary resolution and relief.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith.

Available now at

Email the author at

Sex Abuse Victim Finds Solace in Written Word

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on May 25, 2009


Monday, May 25, 2009


EAST WINDSOR — March 1, 1974, was like any other day for Keith Smith.

The then 14-year-old boy attended a hockey team meeting at his coach’s barbershop in Lincoln, R.I., after school. Around 6 p.m., Smith headed home, but made a decision that forever altered his life.

“I decided to hitchhike,” he said. “A car pulled up to me, opened the door, and I got in.” What happened next is every parent’s nightmare — Smith was beaten and raped by a serial pedophile — a 29-year-old man who had been arrested, jailed and released many times before the abduction.

“It is the real story of a 14-year-old kid who was assaulted by a man not familiar to the victim,” said Smith, who now resides in East Windsor with his wife and two daughters. “He was a stranger. I did not know him.”

Smith, who until January was employed as a vice-president at Merrill Lynch, recounts the details of that horrible night in his new novel, “Men in My Town.” It is the story of Smith’s ordeal and the subsequent events that remain a mystery to this day.

According to Smith, his assailant was never convicted of the crime because he was found brutally beaten to death in the streets of Rhode Island one year later. “Men in My Town” is Smith’s catharsis. It is also a fictionalized composite of the characters he grew up with and an imagining of who may have killed the predator.

“The book has a few different angles,” Smith said. “The man who attacked me owned an adult book store, and went to prison for distributing pornography. So maybe the mob killed him. Maybe he had ties to organized crime.”

Another theory in the book is that he was killed for what happened to Smith, although the boy kept the ordeal a secret for 35 years.

Photo by Butch Adams / The Times

Smith retells the events of that night as if it happened yesterday. His voice shakes with the memory as he tells his cautionary tale of what happens when you get into the wrong car, in his case a purple AMC Gremlin.

“I asked him if he could drop me off at a business called ‘Hartley’s Pork Pies,’ and he drove right past it,” he said. “I then told him to pull over at the Fairlawn Lincoln fire station, and he drove right past that. I knew I was in trouble.”

The driver remained silent for an eighth of a mile before he slowed down to make a right hand turn. Smith’s plan was to open the door and roll out of the car, but the man had it rigged so the car door wouldn’t unlock.

“When the door didn’t open, he pounded me on the side of my face with his fist,” he said. “I was trapped in the car.”

Smith then made a conscious effort to memorize the license plate number written on the inspection sticker, which was located on the passenger side of the car windshield. He scratched the inside of the door with his fingernails so investigators would have evidence he was in the vehicle.

“I kept thinking, ‘if I live through the night, I will make him pay,'” he said.

After the attack, Smith was let out of the car. He found a broken cement block on the ground and hurled it at the man’s car as he drove away, smashing the entire rear window.

Smith ran, cowering under parked cars in fear that the stranger would come back to harm him. Eventually, he made it home. His father, Albert, and his brother, Brian, immediately knew something was wrong. After he told them everything, he was brought to the police station.

When the suspect, who Smith calls “Ronald Kohl” — not his real name — in his book, was arrested, the boy was asked to identify the man in a photo lineup. Smith was asked to testify at the indictment that summer, and a trial date was set. “Kohl” was released on bail.

Then nothing happened. A year went by, and no trial. One week before the trial date, in August, 1975, “Kohl” was found beaten to death in the streets of Providence, and left out in the open to rot.

Smith’s book explores the still unsolved crime of the man who assaulted him. The release of the book on March 16 broke the silence he kept for 35 years about what happened that night.

“Why write the book?” he said. “It is based on real characters and real events that happened in my neighborhood. It is also about the men in my town. Some were gamblers; some were car thieves, or organized crime guys. A lot of them were regular hardworking guys.”

“Some people say to me the men in my town were bad men,” he said. “I say they were good men with the capacity to do bad things.”

The seeds of the novel were planted two years ago, when Smith started writing notes to himself as a way of preparing himself to tell his two daughters, aged 15 and 20, what happened. He kept writing, and completed the tome in December, 2008.

“People ask me how long it took to write the book, and I tell them 35 years,” he said.

Smith went to a few agents and publishers, and decided to self-publish with the “BookSurge” program.  He says about 400 copies have sold through The book is available by “print on demand,” which Smith says is a very “green way to publish.” “You order your book, they print up one copy and mail it to the customer,” he said.

Writing the book has been therapeutic for Smith, who now serves as a trustee of a nonprofit organization called PEI – Kids in Lawrence, helping young victims deal with trauma.

Already Smith has received letters from other victims who found his book online.

“I have gotten e-mails from around the world,” he said. “I heard from a woman that lives in an American Indian tribe in Northern Michigan, on the Canadian border. She told me there is an epidemic with boys being assaulted on Indian reservations, and she is using my book to help teenage boys be comfortable with confiding in an adult if it happens to them.”

Does Smith believe his attacker got the proper comeuppance?

“My neighborhood was safer because he was no longer around,” he said. “That animal that grabbed me was trolling my neighborhood looking for kids.”

Smith says now that his secret is published he is sleeping better at night. His nightmares, long triggered by news stories on television, are less frequent.

“What I want other victims to know is that they shouldn’t feel ashamed, guilty, or responsible,” he said. “I wasn’t responsible for what that guy did to me and I wasn’t responsible for what other people did to that guy.”

Men in My Town, published by BookSurge, is available for $14.99 on and as an “e-book” download for Kindle.  It is also available in the Mercer County Library System and on the shelves of Chicklet Books, an independent bookstore in Princeton.

Email the author at awards 5 Star Rating to Men in My Town, stating, “Incredible. Put this on your reading list!”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009: awards Men in My Town their 5 Star Rating, stating, “Incredible. Put this on your reading list !”

Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for

In Lincoln, Rhode Island, 1974, fourteen-year-old Keith Smith was raped and beaten. He broke out the rear window of the vehicle and memorized the license plate. While he did not know the man that victimized him, he could identify him. Smith was constantly looking back, terrified that Ron Kohl was coming after him. The men in town kept their families safe by learning everything there was to know about Ron Kohl.
Kohl does not deserve to be called a human. He is a monster. On more than one occasion, he served prison time for sexually assaulting young boys. He owned an adult bookstore.

The plot of Men In My Town is built on actual events. The Feds were following him everywhere he went. Then, his business partners were doing the same. Eventually, a plan was set in place, a plan that involved a brutal beating and death for Kohl. The author lived through the nightmare of rape and beatings. He lived in fear. The scars are still there. The murder of Kohl has never been solved.

I cannot begin to imagine the fear Smith has lived with for years. His writing style is superb. He clearly states the events. He allows the tension to slowly build to the climactic death of Kohl. issues Men in My Town 5 Stars: Incredible. Put this on your reading list!

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at

Email the author at