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Southern W.Va. mental health provider indicted by grand jury

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) One of the region's largest mental health providers was indicted by a grand jury in Raleigh County.

The grand jury proceedings began last Monday and wrapped up Friday.

Hamlet Smith, the owner of Life Strategies, was indicted for First Degree Sexual Abuse.

According to his attorney Gerald Hayden, Smith plans to enter a 'not guilty' plea.

He is scheduled for an arraignment before Judge Darl Poling on Wednesday, February 5, at 9 a.m.


BECKLEY,  W.Va. (WVVA) A preliminary hearing will be set within 17 days in the case against the region’s largest private mental health provider.

Hamlet Smith, 50, of Pax, was arrested on Monday and charged with 1st Degree Sexual Abuse relating to an incident that happened in his office on October 22, 2019.

Beckley Police said the person was not a patient or juvenile.

According to the complaint, the woman was preparing to leave a meeting with Smith when he asked for a hug. She said Smith put his hand down the front of her shirt. When she said, ‘this is not going to happen, I have a boyfriend,’ the complaint said Smith said ‘he doesn’t have to know.’

The complaint also said the woman noticed a firearm on Smith’s ankle, and fearing she might be in danger, left the room.

Since his arrest, Smith has obtained Gerald Hayden of Hayden & Associates as his attorney. In an interview with WVVA News on Wednesday, Hayden said his client maintains his innocence.

“We can confirm there was a meeting between Hamlet Smith and a female adult. They both have different versions of how that meeting went. We have seen the complaint and we believe it happened differently from what is being stated in the complaint.”

“Mr. Smith has enjoyed a wonderful reputation in this community for decades, 20-25 years. He’s built a brand, he’s built a business, he has several other counselors in that business. He has the support of his community and Church. I’ve been approached by several people just in the last couple days offering support in anyway they can.”

Hayden also responded to reports of a possible recording between the woman and Smith after the incident.

“I have not heard that recording. I have not obtained any discovery yet. And I’m not in a position to speculate as to what’s on that recording. And on any recording, it’s a subjective thing as to what is really being stated.”

Smith is currently out on a $10,000 bond and has yet to make a decision on whether he will waive his right to a preliminary hearing.

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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