Signs of the Swarm Fire Guitarist Cory Smarsh Following Abuse Allegations
Signs of the Swarm have removed guitarist Cory Smarsh from the band due to allegations of abuse. Smarsh has been accused of physical abuse by one woman and sexual abuse of a minor by another.
The allegation of physical abuse comes from ex-partner Jesa DeVir. She claims Smarsh became physically violent on Valentine’s Day 2019 and left bruises on her in 2020. In her public statement, DeVir says Smarsh would destroy their apartment and had child protective services called on him by DeVir’s then-11-year-old daughter. DeVir does also state that her daughter has “falsely reported” her to child protective services in the past “with the urging of her biological dad.”
Read DeVir’s full statement below:
Cory Smarsh (Signs of the Swarm) is abusive, irregardless of the nice guy demeanor he portrays to everyone. I've had close friends tell me for months now that I need to bring this to light, and I've had some tell me that I'm protecting an abuser in the scene by being silent - that I need to go public about this to protect others. And TBH, they're right, but it's taken me awhile to get to the point of accepting everything that was done and to be comfortable enough to admit that I'm a victim of abuse. Early on in our relationship he even told me that he had treated a prior GF extremely bad, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he had been as abusive to her as he was towards me.
The first time he was physically violent was Valentine's Day of 2019, when he punched the first hole in one of the doors. The last time he was physically violent was the last night he was here, in which another door ended up with a hole (the bathroom door, because I had locked myself in there because of how he was acting - yes, I was afraid), and he also damaged a small desk that last night. His parents followed up an hour later by rubbing his back and comforting him, and they had the audacity to tell me that *I* was the one who needed help. They proceeded to take him back to PA with them that night, where he's been living without a care for the past 5 months (they baby him in all regards - he doesn't even pay his own cell phone bill at age 26). When he threw his phone against a wall and shattered it, they also rewarded him by sending him a brand new iPhone 12 Pro Max at the beginning of the year.
The bruises he left on me were during 2020, and I stupidly believed him that he "didn't mean it", but I've become clear-headed enough at this point to understand that the warning signs were there all along and that I was blind to them due to that "nice guy" demeanor of his and due to all of his lies and manipulation. Towards the end of 2020, my then-11-year-old also reported him to DCS for physical abuse allegations; I did not see him hurt her, and I didn't see any marks left on her, and she *has* falsely reported me in the past (with the urging of her biological dad, because of visitation issues), so I *don't* know whether or not her allegations were true - but the fact stands that she DID report Cory to DCS for abuse. He had already destroyed the doorframe on her bedroom door by that point, which cost me $175 to replace/repair.
The physical abuse and physical violence is easy to see, as shown (other than the broken dishes and such, not shown), but he was also mentally/emotionally abusive throughout two years of our three year relationship - and that was honestly worse for me than the physical. Manipulation, gaslighting, silent treatment, putting me down for my involvement/passion of supporting the scene (but it was okay when it was support for SOTS, of course), dismissiveness, blaming me for his actions (every single time), abandonment countless times when he knew I needed him (and when he promised to be there for specific times), dehumanizing me, et cetera. I'm honestly still not okay because of the mental/emotional abuse and I'm still trying to work through the trauma he's caused. I honestly wish I would have listened to a therapist I had towards the end of 2020 because she indicated that he was abusive but I didn't want to hear or acknowledge it. I also wish that I would have listened to friends at the end of 2019 and not taken him back before he moved in with me. I was stupid, and everyone close to me saw what I didn't - love blinds you.
For 15 months Cory lived with me and my daughter and during that time my life went from great to barely survivable. I became an alcoholic during those 15 months of living with him, I began self-harming regularly, and I became suicidal - which hadn't been issues for me in numerous years, prior to my relationship with him. I gave up all of my passions in life and I went into hiding - I was gone from social media and in seclusion with my abuser for nearly a full year. He refused to get and hold down a job even though he's fully capable, so I was supporting a household of three after my company closed down during COVID, all by myself while my so-called partner just sat around every single day getting high and manipulating me. No support in the least, not financially or emotionally, no matter how many times I begged for support from him. I bought him everything he needed, so I guess I'm partly to blame for keeping him stocked up with weed, cigarettes, vape juice, and everything else. But I also encouraged him throughout that entire time to seek professional help - which he refused to do. I offered to pay for trade schooling or other forms of education in order to help him find better paying jobs, and I gave up all of my future plans in life to try to instead focus on us relocating to PA purely for Cory, and Cory alone (for his family and band). I was taken advantage of the entire time, because of my love for him. By the end of it all, I had to pull out my 401k to keep us all afloat, and now I’m still stuck in Indiana, starting from ground zero again to rebuild my life from scratch. $600 of apartment damages to pay for due to him, and he owes me thousands outside of that - which I’ll have to sue him in civil court to collect. But you know what? That’s okay. The alternative would have been us finalizing the marriage together that we nearly did at the end of 2020 (had the certificate, just needed it ordained), and that would have made things even worse. I might be starting all over again, but at least I can say that I’m no longer in an abusive relationship. And even though this is the most abusive relationship I’ve ever been in, I’ve survived a lot of things throughout my life and I’ve survived this, too. I’m still working through the healing process from it, the trauma is very real, but I know I’ll get past this in time.
For his family - I’ve told you numerous times that Cory needs professional help. Instead of further enabling his abusive behavior, I hope you realize how serious it is and that you finally assist him in getting the help he clearly needs. Cory has threatened self-harm against himself if I go public about his abuse. I do not want him to hurt himself, so keep an eye on him. It's not my job anymore.
For the fan boys who will deny this and try to talk shit about me - go ahead, I don’t care. None of you actually know him. I have plenty of texts from Cory in which he clearly doesn’t even try to deny his abuse towards me. I doubt he’ll try to lie about any of this, he knows there’s too much proof.
For all of my friends who have known about all of this and been there for me in the past 2yrs - I’d likely be dead right now if not for all of you (you guys know how suicidal I got in the last year of being with him) — so thank you, for being there for me as best as you guys could be. Real friends are hard to come by nowadays, but I value all of you.
Signs of the Swarm announced Smarsh was no longer in the band roughly one hour after DeVir’s statement was posted:
Due to circumstances that have been brought to our attention in the last hour, we have asked Cory Smarsh to step down from his role in Signs of the Swarm while he handles these deeply personal matters.
We appreciate those who have reached out.
Signs of the Swarm continue in the comments section, “Everything with the band is still moving forward as planned. We do not condone this behavior at all. This entire situation is still very fresh right now for us. Cory is not in the band any longer. We can not speak on his behalf on what his next steps are or anything. Thank you everyone for understanding.”
In the comments section of SOTS’s post and DeVir’s post, a second woman named Alex accused Smarsh of taking advantage of her while she was a minor:
Tw: mention of abuse and s*xual assault
I’ve decided to keep my personal info private on this matter because I don’t trust some of you. But I’m the other ex that is involved in this.
I indeed was a minor (14) when Cory and I first got together; he was 18 at the time. I was manipulated and coerced into having s*x with him on multiple occasions. At the time I thought it was normal, because you know, I was a literal child. It took me years to realize that what I went through was s*xual assault. And even if there was no manipulation into having s*x, I was still a 14-16 year old having s*x with a 18-20 year old.
Our relationship has caused so much pain in my life and I will forever feel pain about this relationship. I’ve been clinically diagnosed with C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) from what happened to me. Its taken me 6 years to even make a dent in helping heal the trauma I went through in the two years we were together and I still am nowhere near being fully healed.
I do not feel it is necessary for me to go into grave detail about the s*xual, mental, and emotional abuse I endured. And quite frankly it isn’t any of your business to know the gorey details of my abuse. Period.
And for the backlash I’m about to receive for this, I have this to offer you:
1.) I have nothing to gain from posting this. I am merely telling my side of the story. I’m not planning some smear campaign against Cory. I’m also not trying to cancel him. All of you are grown people who can make decisions on who you do and do not choose to support.
2.) Those asking for the second side of the story can fuck off. There is NO reason for someone to put their hands on their partner unprovoked. Point blank period.
There’s no need to message me to try and attack me. I don’t really care what any of y’all have to say about my post. You can choose to support him and it literally will make no difference to me. Neckbeards on facebook calling me a liar doesn’t bother me because I know what happened to me. And I know the abuse I endured.
Thanks for reading x
Smarsh has addressed the accusations from both women. The guitarist admits to punching holes in walls and pushing DeVir against a wall on one occasion. He also admits to dating Alex for two years despite their age gap:
I left this relationship because of the place it had put me in mentally. Up until a week ago I was still being begged to come back, something that I never want to go through again.
Yes, I punched a door on Valentine’s Day, this was after a long and drawn out argument over things that were said on Snapchat. Along side a drawn out rant of putting me down, also invited people to be sure to add her fetlife and there may have been some stuff about trying to hookup with someone. All of these thing had been previously talked about the way it makes me genuinely uncomfortable, but with every one of these conversations I was told that I’m wrong, and feeling this way it stupid. This was a common reoccurrence throughout our relationship. Being put down, talking about how trashy I am, and how everything I’m doing is wrong, wether it be my feelings or how I lived my life.
Seeing this on Valentine’s Day definitely set me off. I drove to her place in Indy where she laid in bed, and wouldn’t speak about anything. I cried to her, asking her why she’s doing this to me, and with either an “I don’t know” or no response at all, I got frustrated and punched the door.
As for the last night, Jesa was making multiple comments throughout the day of how I should just leave. I tried to reassure her that I wouldn’t, but by the end of the night it was too much. She had locked herself inside the bathroom, but what she didn’t mention was her multiple statements about suicide, how if I left then “so would she.” She had already owned a rope, with the sole intention of hanging herself. She had mentioned to me multiple times, “I’ll just get in my car and go, and then no one will ever find me again”. These statements came up a few times throughout the years of our relationship. I had a meltdown and just cried on the floor. I wanted out of this situation but I didn’t want it to cause harm to anyone.
I never hurt her child, and honestly felt a deep sorrow for her in the way the Jesa would treat her a lot of the time. Jesa would lock herself away in her room and left Alisza to do a large majority of looking out for herself.
The bruises were from being pushed against a wall. This happened on a particularly hard day for Jesa, speaking on her battles with BPD. After being berated for something I can’t even remember, I tried my best to take a deep breath and just clean up our room, unpacking some boxes that had been sitting in the room for a few days. Just the act of trying to organize, she screamed and yelled at me that what I was doing was pointless, and wrong, when I was just trying to clean. I snapped and pushed her against a wall, and immediately backed off and left the room. It was not something I should have done, but after so long of being talked down to and told how wrong I am, I hit a breaking point. This was a large shift in what drove me to leave. She still didn’t want me to, even at this point, I made that choice that if things ever got to a point anywhere near this again, I was gone. After showing me that I had bruised her, from her own words at the time “I know you didn’t mean to do it and I could see how upset you were”. I had written up a suicide note, and locked myself away in her closet for hours.
She talks about putting her down for supporting the music scene. Most of the time she would be talking about money issues, and in reply to that I mentioned that she should probably back off spending hundreds every month buying band merch. Again, another thing I got told that I was wrong, and it was stupid of me to think this way. The same way that I told her not to take out all of her retirement money, to be safe and only take out a small portion if need be, but no, I’m stupid to think like that as well. “If I’m taking out a little, might as well take all of it and spend it, right?” regardless of the terrible tax issues and multiple warnings that I don’t think it’s a good idea.
She talks about the alcoholism and cutting and suicidal thoughts, all of these things we had sat down and had talks about. I tried to get her to stop drinking throughout the months, she would just make me drink with her. I would toss out any razors I saw laying around, and again had talks on how to help her cope with the feeling of needing to self harm. Suicide came up early on into the relationship, with talks about how she’s wanted to die since she was young.
I had gone through two jobs while being there, both of which I would be told regularly “weren’t good enough.” The constant pressure to be good enough for her broke me. I would punch myself repeatedly, bruising my legs and smashing my head into the floor. I would constantly sit in my car after work, dreading the feeling of even having to walk back into that apartment in fear of what I might be faced with. Am I going to get screamed at, is she drunk, has she hurt herself. On what seemed like a weekly basis, I would lock myself in the bathroom or closet in complete darkness and just sleep on the floor.
I’m not trying to justify anything that I did, but bring to light the reasons I was in such a dark place. This relationship drove me into being someone that I worked very hard to get rid of. I do not want to hurt anyone, I do not want to cause anyone pain. I stayed for so long because I believed in my head that I could help. I couldn’t, and I should have left a long time ago. I shouldn’t have made so many promises, I should have been more realistic on what I could accomplish, but instead I wore myself thin and did stupid things.
As for my other ex Alex, we dated in high school. We had a study hall together, talked, and ended up dating for two years. At the time, the age gap wasn’t weird. It had came up multiple times in that relationship and was part of the reason we broke up once I wasn’t in school anymore. It seemed fine when we were able to spend time in school together, but felt creepy to me after I graduated. I’ve tried a few times on my own to reach out and come to some sort of peace with it, but I know it doesn’t help her to talk with the person that brought on that pain. I even had conversations with Jesa about it, that I wanted it to somehow be ok between us but there was no way for me to do that realistically. Ironically, Jesa just called her a skank and told me to forget about the whole thing, that it was irrelevant, but now she wants to have her back.
I sincerely wish the best for Alex, the story I left her with is one that does pain me more than I ever show. That’s not who I am, and that’s not who I want to be.
Signs of the Swarm parted ways with vocalist CJ McCreery in 2018. Several women would post allegations against McCreery in late 2019, leading to his dismissal from Lorna Shore. McCreery defended himself with a public statement, denying accusations made against him.
If you or someone you know is facing abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website. A disclaimer on the website notes that if you are concerned your Internet usage is being monitored, an alternative option is to call 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233).
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, resources are available for help. Visit the RAINN website (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) or dial 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Resource information is provided for free as well as a chat message service. To speak directly to a professional, call 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone and help is available. Every life is important.