102919 Hamlet Smith.jpg

Hamlet Smith, right, owner of Life Strategies Counseling, is escorted from Beckley Police headquarters by Cpl. C.D. McCormick Monday afternoon. Smith, according to, Beckley Police Lt. Dave Allard, was arrested on allegations of sexual misconduct and was charged with first degree sexual abuse of an adult. (Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

The founder of the largest private mental health counseling service in Raleigh County was arrested Monday on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Raleigh County Magistrate Court on Monday, Hamlet Smith, 50, "did unlawfully and feloniously subject C.S., a person not his wife, to sexual contact without their consent, and such lack of consent the result of forcible compulsion."

As he was being arrested on Monday, Smith told news photographers outside the Beckley Police Department that the allegations of sexual abuse were "not true."

In the complaint, Beckley Police Department detective Cpl. N.J. Walters charged that Smith had set up a meeting with an adult female, identified as "C.S.," at his Mallard Court office in Beckley on Oct. 22 for 1 p.m. The complaint did not state whether C.S. was a client or a visitor to the office.

"Mr. Smith invited C.S. into his secluded office, shut the door and requested she sit on the couch," the complaint reads. "After a brief conversation, C.S. was preparing to leave when Mr. Smith asked for a hug.

"C.S. obliged his request but was expecting the physical contact to be less intrusive.

"Following the initial contact, Mr. Smith hugged C.S. again, but this time he forced his hand down the front of her shirt in an apparent move to touch her breast," the complaint charges.

C.S. reportedly told Smith that a physical relationship "was not going to happen," and Smith allegedly asked, "Why?"

Police allege that C.S. told Smith she had a boyfriend.

"Mr. Smith responded with, 'He doesn't have to know,' " Walters wrote in the complaint.

C.S. told police that Smith, a licensed counselor, was armed during the incident.

"C.S. noted that while in the process of leaving, Mr. Smith, who was still seated on the couch, placed his feet on a nearby object," the complaint states. "C.S. noticed a firearm equipped to Mr. Smith's ankle.

"Fearing that she may be in imminent danger, C.S. expeditiously began to leave."

Walters wrote that Smith stood to open the door for the woman.

"He again initiated physical contact by kissing her forehead," the complaint charges.

Two days after the alleged incident, Smith celebrated a "grand re-opening" of Life Strategies in the Woodcrest subdivision.

The Beckley office had been moved from its former location near Harper Road. 

Life Strategies is the area's largest private provider of mental health services, including marital and family counseling.

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