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Former martial arts instructor sentenced

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By Chris Edwards
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Troy SmithTroy SmithWOODVILLE – A guilty plea was entered in the case of a man accused of sexual assault of a child in Tyler County’s District Court.

Troy Lee Smith, Jr., 49, was arrested in September 2018 and charged with the crime, as well as a count of indecency with a child. Smith, who pleaded guilty was sentenced to eight years in prison, which he began serving last week.

Assistant Attorney General James Haugh, along with Attorney General Investigator Brian Seales, prosecuted the case. The office of Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the guilty plea last week. Seales, at the time of the arrest, was working for the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office as an investigator.

Smith, an accomplished martial artist, had operated the Grandmaster Smith Academy of Martial Arts in Woodville for several years. According to the original affidavit, a warrant was issued for his arrest after a former student of Smith’s reported abuse while studying under him.

Smith received an eight-year sentence for each count, which will be served concurrently. According to the AG’s Criminal Prosecutions Division, Seales, then with TCSO, was the lead investigator, and took statements and conducted a detailed, thorough investigation, which was then brought before a grand jury, resulting in the indictment.

The evidence compiled showed that Smith began meeting privately with one of his students in 2011, who was then 15 years old. He inappropriately touched, and then sexually assaulted the student. The assaults went on for several months, and the student reported the incidents to TCSO in 2018.

Smith is currently serving his sentence at the Holliday Unit and according to his file with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, will be eligible for parole in October 2026.

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