Of all the missed opportunities in the Donald Smith case, none is as glaring as a letter from his psychologist in 2002.
The letter, first obtained by First Coast News as part of a months-long investigation into systemic failures in his case, put the threat Smith posed in the starkest terms imaginable.
“[Smith] poses a clear present and future danger to the to the children and the community,” Dr. Jim Vallely wrote to the State Attorney’s Office. “All Mr. Smith is attempting to do is to continue his psychopathological patterns at the potential expense of children and other victims.”
The letter was prompted by Smith’s decision to part ways with the doctor, saying sex offender therapy was too demanding. Smith had been court ordered to attend Vallely’s therapy and to take hormone shots that effect chemical castration.
Vallely hadn’t seen the letter in years, but he recalled it when First Coast News emailed it to him. He says he immediately recognized his former client when Smith was charged with raping and killing Cherish Perrywinkle in 2013.
The girl’s death was exactly the outcome he feared. “That’s pretty much what I would have predicted,” he tells First Coast News.
Vallely is no stranger to sex predators – his private practice used to be working with clients-court ordered to undergo sex offender therapy. He says his reputation was rigorous, and his program demanding.
Smith decided he wanted an easier program – and specifically told Vallely he wanted to “graduate” quickly so he could “circumvent legal consequences to his continued criminal behavior.”
“He basically was predicting that he would re-offend, Vallely says. “Based on his history, I would suggest he would.”
“I wanted to let them know this guy was dangerous,” Dr. Jim Vallely, told First Coast News when asked what he hoped to accomplish. Vallely says he never heard back from the State Attorney’s Office or Smith’s lawyer in response to his warning. “As far as I know, nothing was done.”
Watch First Coast News Monday at 11 pm for more on the decades of missed opportunities in this case.
Read the full letter below.
Stay with First Coast News for more on this story.