Former Smithville mayor sentenced after pleading guilty to sexual assault charges

The former mayor of Smithville has been sentenced to five years deferred adjudication after pleading guilty to sexual assault charges. 

In May 2021, Scott Saunders, Jr. was arrested on three charges out of Bastrop County two counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child.

A joint statement from the current Smithville mayor, city manager and chief of police noted that "allegations were made via Facebook posts about possible indiscretions alleged to have been committed by former Mayor Scott Saunders, Jr."

Saunders had been re-elected in November 2020, but resigned from office in January.

In May 2023, Saunders pleaded guilty to the charges out of Bastrop County in addition to a sexual assault charge out of Fayette County, however, the Court determined Saunders was not guilty of one of the counts of sexual assault of a child.

Saunders must register as a sex offender in addition to the five years of deferred adjudication. 

"That means he's basically on probation for the next five years," said Adam Loewy, an unaffiliated attorney that weighed in on the case. "You have to do drug and alcohol screening, you have to go to counseling, there are usually certain requirements, like in this one, he's not allowed to be around children other than his own biological children. So it can be strict. But, especially in a county like Bastrop, when it's a first-time sexual assault offense of a minor, you generally see prison time."

Court documents show the terms of the deferred adjudication sentence, which include no internet access without monitoring software installed and no contact with anyone under 17 years of age, with an exception for Saunders's biological children. Saunders also can't go within 1,000 feet of a school or playground unless in the company of his biological children. 


However, some community members reached out to FOX 7 expressing concerns. One email sent to FOX 7 called the justice system in Bastrop County "corrupt." 

"Only in Bastrop County can a former mayor plead guilty to two felony sexual contact with a minor charges along with an indecency with a child charge yet get sent home with 5 years' probation," said another concerned citizen.

FOX 7 reached out to the Bastrop County District Attorney’s office and Saunders's attorney and hasn't heard back.

"Deals do get struck. But when it comes to someone who's an elected official, I think that the DA needs to explain exactly why this deal was cut," said Loewy.

In February 2023, former Smithville police chief Michael Maugere received deferred adjudication after pleading guilty to a gambling promotion charge.

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