Pastor Sentenced For Dumping Trash On Disabled Man

Smoker Was Assistant Pastor At Red Rocks Baptist Church

An assistant pastor at Red Rocks Baptist Church in Morrison was sentenced Thursday to seven days in jail and one year of probation for dumping trash on a mentally handicapped volunteer.

Jason Smoker, 37, of Lakewood, was found guilty of neglect of an at-risk adult, a misdemeanor, in April.

Smoker was supervising a 21-year-old developmentally disabled man who was cleaning a church bus prior to an outing on Aug. 27, 2008.

Smoker did not think the man had done a good job cleaning the bus and as a disciplinary measure he tied something, possibly a T-shirt, around the young man's head, had him lie down on the ground in the church parking lot and then dumped trash on him, prosecutors said.

The volunteer was not physically hurt but he testified at trial that he'd been scared. He said that he trusted Smoker "not to do anything bad." He said that at first he was just scared and confused, but afterward felt betrayed and humiliated by Smoker’s abuse, prosecutors said.

The young man and his family were active members of Red Rocks Baptist Church and participated in many church activities.

Once another assistant pastor learned what Smoker did, he informed church pastor Les Heinze, who said he would take care of it. The incident was not reported to police and the Jefferson County Crimes Against Children unit began an investigation on June 8, 2009, when it received a tip.

Smoker is no longer employed by Red Rocks Baptist Church.