A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with more than 20 years’ experience of working with children and families has been arrested after a cyber crimes unit investigation discovered at least 50 disturbing images of child sexual abuse material on his computers at work and home.
Alexander C. Smith, of Tampa Florida, was arrested on Thursday following a raid on both his home and clinic, ABCS Behavioral & Educational Services & Therapy.
The Tampa Police Department Cyber Crimes Squad conducted an undercover investigation of Smith after their work identified a computer that was being used to share images of child sexual abuse over peer-to-peer networks.
A spokesperson with the department told reporters that their detectives were able to obtain warrants for Smith’s office and home after undercover officers had images of child sexual abuse shared to them from a computer that was traced back to Smith at both locations.
The 46-year-old social worker is listed as the clinical director of ABCS Behavior and Educational Services and Therapy. On his company’s website, Smith describes himself as “A licensed clinical social worker, a certified school social worker, a qualified supervisor for licensed marriage and family therapy registered clinical interns, a qualified supervisor for those seeking licensure in clinical social work, a certified adoption competent trainer, and a board certified behavior analyst”
His website also boasts of his “extensive training working with adoptive families, children with PTSD, attachment problems/disorders, children with social engagement problems/disorders, school problems, and children/families affected by various forms of anxiety and depression”
Smith also prides himself on his work as a “presenter, trainer, lecturer and courtesy professor at several local agencies and educational institutions”
Writing about himself in the third person, he adds that “notably, he was named the school social worker of the year by the Florida Association of School Social Workers in 2009”
Speaking exclusively to socialworktutor.com, a Florida-based social worker who worked alongside Smith opened up about the shock that his arrest has had on the social work community in Tampa.
The social worker, who wishes to remain anonymous said: “Today was emotionally wrenching. One of the providers for therapy that I frequently refer my families to was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. Rationally, I know nothing I did should result in any blame or guilt, but there’s this gut feeling that I have sent innocent children to an actual monster and possibly aided in their abuse”
“The thing I’m struggling with the most is just the idea of those kids being exposed to anything even remotely damaging. Of course I maintain a professional boundary, but I care about these kids so much to the point where I’m physically hurting and ill at just the thought of this man looking at them”
“Of course there was no way I, or anyone at my agency, knew what he was doing behind closed doors, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I wasn’t so powerless. I wish I could’ve protected them and their families; none of them, or anyone for that matter, deserves to go through this. Especially at the hands of someone who dedicated their life to children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral health”
Discussing the possibility of Smith having sexually abused the children he was working with in his social work role, Steve Hegarty of the Tampa Police Department said: “At this point we have no evidence that it is directly related to his work in any way in terms of preying on victims or something of that nature, but we’re always looking to see if we get a phone call that tells us otherwise”
Legal records show that Smith has made his first appearance at court and a judge has given him a $375,000 bond.
If he posts this bond, he is to have no contact with any children, including his own.